South Africa


Ace Magashule files notice to appeal High Court judgment that upheld his suspension

Suspended ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule. (Photo: Leila Dougan) | President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

On Saturday, the ANC’s suspended secretary-general, Ace Magashule, filed a notice to appeal a judgment that upheld his suspension.

In the notice to appeal, the ANC’s suspended secretary-general, Ace Magashule said judges Jody Kollapen, Edwin Molahlehi and Sharise Weiner had made a number of errors and that based on a number of points he makes in the application to appeal “there are reasonable prospects that the Supreme Court of Appeal would come to a different conclusion”.

The judgment is littered with countless examples of indications or pointers of actual and/or perceived bias on the part of the court, which to the applicant point to a desire to produce or justify a pre-determined outcome in favour of the respondents and/or against the applicant by inter alia:

  • distorting or misrepresenting arguments made by the applicant; 
  • attributing to him and/or his legal representatives several assertions which were never made in the papers or in written or oral argument;
  • rejecting his submissions merely because the respondents made different submissions with no reasoning by the court as to why the latter was preferred.

In March the ANC gave Magashule 30 days to step aside from his position as secretary-general because he faced fraud charges related to a R255-million Free State asbestos tender, which happened under his watch as the Free State premier.

Magashule did not step aside as per the ANC’s rules regarding members implicated in corruption and was thus suspended. 

Shortly after Magashule was suspended, he suspended Cyril Ramaphosa for allegedly violating the same rule as the party’s president. The Johannesburg High Court found that this suspension was illegal. 

According to Magashule, the court had failed to consider Rule 25.70 (the step-aside rule) in its proper context. Had it done so, the court would have found that: “the court erred in failing to recognise the principle that constitutional rights cannot be waived. Even if Magashule had stated that he would comply with the lawful application of the step-aside rule, he could not thereby be forfeiting his right to challenge their unlawful invocation,” reads the 14-page application. 

In his application to appeal the judgment, Magashule said the court “erred” in holding that Ramaphosa’s suspension “was not lawful” without giving any explanation for that conclusion and in the absence of any counter-application seeking such relief by Ramaphosa.

Ace Magashule Challenges High Court Loss in Supreme Court

Magashule seeks to challenge what he views as a biased judgment because “if sustained, even to a partial extent [it] will obviously have a far-reaching impact on the democracy itself. If discredited, it will have an equally positive effect. Either way, transparency is the essential medicine.”

“Being a full court judgment, the precedent set by the court is likely to operate to take away all the rights and gains made in favour of ordinary and vulnerable members of political parties, which have been made in the past decade of litigation in this important area of constitutional protections,” concludes the application. DM


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  • In the face of the unanimous decision of a panel of judges, Ace joins Zuma and Mkhwebane in the most favoured lawfare escape route for scoundrels: the Stalingrad defence.