South Africa


Magashule’s attempted midnight suspension of Ramaphosa was flawed and dishonest, court hears

Magashule’s attempted midnight suspension of Ramaphosa was flawed and dishonest, court hears
Illustration/ Jessie Duarte during a joint media briefing (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile)/President Cyril Ramaphosa/Siyabulela Duda GCIS/ ANC flag (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)/ANC secretary general Ace Magashule (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Alon Skuy)

Advocate Wim Trengove argues that the ANC suspension of Ace Magashule was lawful and that the suspended secretary-general had the opportunity to make representations before being made to step aside.

Extraordinary. Spurious. Dishonest. Flawed. Advocate Wim Trengove did not mince his words in court on 25 June 2021 as he shredded suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s attempt to have the court declare lawful his attempted suspension of President Cyril Ramaphosa on 3 May.

Trengove told the court that it was extraordinary that Magashule tried to rely on the ANC’s step aside Rule 25.7 of its Constitution as being both unlawful, as it applied to him, and lawful as it applied to Ramaphosa. 

Magashule used this rule to attempt to suspend Ramaphosa in a midnight letter he unilaterally drafted and dispatched on 5 May. “A suspension may only occur on the authority of the national executive committee,” Trengove told Judge Jody Kollapen, Judge Sharise Weiner, and Judge Edwin Molahlehi, who heard the two-day application for Magashule’s reinstatement to his ANC job.  

“He purports to suspend the president under false allegations,” Trengove told the court, saying that Magashule’s reference to a criminal case laid with the Hawks related to Ramaphosa’s campaign funding was “spurious and dishonest”.  “A full bench of the high court has held there was no evidence of criminality.”  

Trengove also demolished one of Magashule’s key defences — that he had not been allowed to be heard (the Audi alteram partem rule in law, which is to be listened to to be heard).  “He got an ample hearing. He got more than a fair hearing,” said Trengove.  

Magashule had had an opportunity to present his side of the story to the ANC Integrity Commission — he had been a co-architect of the guidelines developed on the step-aside rule as a member of the party’s powerful national executive committee, and he had been heard at a meeting at Ramaphosa’s home on 2 May.  

He said the party’s step-aside rule was lawful and reasonable, while Magashule has argued that it is unconstitutional. “No organisation can have someone indicted on a serious charge be its public face. The purpose of the rule is to protect the party — it’s not a disciplinary rule.  

“Not only was the employee afforded an opportunity to state his case but, extraordinary, he was part of the decision-making,” said Trengove. The advocate also said that Magashule’s defence that deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte did not have the right to suspend him was false.  

He said that the party’s constitution said that the deputy would deputise and carry out instructions on behalf of the party’s NEC and its national working committee (NWC).  “It is an extraordinary argument,” said Trengove. 

The hearing continues to the end of the day on 25 June and judgment is likely to be reserved.  DM


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  • Coen Gous says:

    This was riveting stuff. Life television at its best. Since “blade runner” the best real court room drama I have ever watch, surpassing the drama of even the best fictitious court room movies .
    A brilliant attorney, Wim Trengrove, in a calm, very measure way, virtually destroying advocate SC Mpofu’s arguments day long arguments on Thursday in a period less than two hours, including interruptions. Later again after lunch, Mpofu once again spend almost 2 hours in closing arguments, babbling along, not really saying anything convincing.
    Whilst I predict the 3 judges will reject Magashule’s applications, in the bigger scheme of things I don’t really care, as at some stage he will face jail time. But to see Trengove in action was something else. If he was in Billy Downer’s shoes, Zuma will be shaking. Mpofu (or Mr Shut-up), was like a grade one pupil in comparison. No wonder one viewer (with a Zulu surname, I think), also watching the SABC Newsfeed on YouTube made the comment: “Dali’s adams apple is ripe for harvest” And that about sums it up!

  • Charles Parr says:

    Mpofu is certainly no match for Wim Trengrove and Ace is really grapping at straws in this case.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    Audi alterem partem is not “… to be listened to to be heard … “, it is the “hearing the other side/party” rule. It is the principle that both sides of the story should be heard.

  • Mthimkulu Mashiya says:

    All that Mpofu is really interested in is to further his and the EFF’s strategy of deepening and exacerbating the obvious tensions in the ANC’s factions. He does not care one bit about Magashule’s case.

  • James Miller says:

    Dali Mpofu’s petulant falsetto is the perfect voice with which to present the illogical arguments of his clients. In answering Trengrove he spent an inordinate amount of time and energy complaining about duplication of pages, which only served to emphasise the flimsiness of his case. Another surreal performance on behalf of the indefensible. We should call him “Salvador”.

  • D.R. W says:

    Putting Dali Mpofu up against Wim Trengrove is like putting a Baby Jake into the ring to take on Mohamed Ali. What makes it worse than for the publicity-hungry flyweight taking on more than he can chew is that he was defending the indefensible. The arguments used were as stupid as Juju and Floydy’s super-spreader march to support a pro Sino-Russian vaccine campaign. With the 3 EFFers offered up as best-in-class opposition party leaders…..cry the beloved cowntry

  • John Bestwick says:

    Trengrove vs Mpofu: the law as opposed to fake political emotion. Shut up Mpofu

  • Geoff Young says:

    My learned friends in the legal profession call Mpofu “the gift that keeps giving”. This a casual stroll through a laughable case for Trengrove (or any other SC with experience). The only way Magashule prevails here is if the judiciary has been corrupted.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    The only person that hits the heights of irritation aroused by Midget Mpofu is Nick ‘Panda’ Hudson

  • Nic de Jager says:

    Just a note: it is Trengove. Sorry to be pedantic.

    • Charles Parr says:

      Quite correct even if it is pedantic. I have to admit to never having noticed that before. It just proves that we never get too old to learn.

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