South Africa


Ace Magashule: What now? An internal party appeal or straight to court

ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule appears at Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on November 13, 2020 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images/Frikkie Kapp)

ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule is likely to either appeal his suspension or take the entire process to court, say party officials.

In a midnight drama, Magashule wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he was suspending him – something no individual leader in the ANC can do.

But that move has overshadowed his suspension and provided insight into his current strategy. Magashule is likely to appeal his suspension to Mathews Phosa, the lawyer and former treasurer and Mpumalanga premier who will hear appeals from any of the estimated 30 party representatives who must now step aside. 

If he does not appeal, Magashule will use his powerful bank of lawyers to go straight to court to argue that his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is violated by the step-aside rule. If he goes to court or appeals, a legal argument will ensue over whether either action places into abeyance the operation of his suspension. 

Magashule has said he is still secretary-general in office and suspended Ramaphosa because he has the power to do so. But the ANC constitution says only the party’s national executive committee (NEC) or national working committee (NWC) can suspend an ANC president. If this happens, the secretary-general’s role is to inform the president that he or she has been suspended. The NEC is an 84-member governance structure that is the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences. The 26-member NWC is appointed from the NEC – it is this body that suspended Magashule and set the cat among the pigeons.  

The NEC has put Magashule’s letter to Ramaphosa on the agenda of its weekend meeting where the reform wing is likely to argue that he should face additional disciplinary charges for bringing the party into disrepute and for insubordination. Former labour minister Mildred Oliphant chairs the party’s disciplinary committee.

As reported here, Magashule does not have a majority on the ANC NEC, but he does have powerful supporters like Tony Yengeni who has spoken publicly for him since his suspension. He is reportedly allying with former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede in lobbying KwaZulu-Natal’s branches.  Gumede must also step aside from her position as a provincial legislature member, since she is facing corruption charges, too. She, too, has indicated her intention not to do so.  

Magashule has the support of at least two Cabinet ministers on the party’s NEC, as well as that of the Women’s League and its president, Bathabile Dlamini. DM


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All Comments 16

  • If he goes to court it is a review not an appeal and therefore the decision to suspend is not held up. It is as likely to succeed as a member reviewing a golf club suspension for breaking the rules.

  • The best outcome from this would be for the ANC to splinter just enough to cripple the party but with CR still in charge as the democratically elected president until our next elections.

    Fingers crossed.

      • Not sure if SA is that high up on the international agenda! BUT the US situation was…& now various Republican states are going further with their change to more repressive election law shenanigans! & supremacist whites (even in congress-includes wannabe white Scott, Cruz, Rubio et al) are in!

  • And the lawyers a laughing all the way – more fat pay checks funded by SA taxpayers! Not surprisingly, the list of his supporters reads like a who’s who of ANC corruption.

  • No shame, no brains, and imagine your only supporters are real crooks like Yengeni and Gumede? The depths of scum cannot be dug any deeper. Amazing how all the rubbish eventually bands together.

  • How does this work? He is employed by ANC not the State. If an employer suspends a worker ON FULL PAY, how many run to court demanding to work for their money? Hard to show harm…

    I’ll contribute to the AceSuspensionPay fundraiser. Few more I can think of I’ll contribute to.

  • Why can’t he just be subpoenaed to appear in court like anyone else in this country. Doesn’t our constitution state that we are all equal before the law? Charge him and jail him if found guilty. But please this not very funny comedy routine must stop already

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