South Africa


ANC electoral committee sinks Ace Magashule’s hopes of a December resurrection

The national conference rules set out by the ANC’s electoral committee rule out any possibility of suspended Secretary-General Ace Magashule running for the leadership of the party come December.

On Thursday, during a press briefing at Luthuli House, ANC electoral committee chair Kgalema Motlanthe sank the hopes of the suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule for a political comeback in December.

In announcing the official rules of engagement for the ANC’s national conference due to take place in December, Motlanthe mentioned that those who had been temporarily suspended pending the outcome of a court case or disciplinary hearing would be prohibited from participating in any contestation.

This is the exact dilemma that Magashule finds himself in. He was officially suspended from his position as secretary-general in May 2021 after being charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering in connection with the R255-million Free State asbestos scandal. 

He was among officials who were given 30 days to step aside or face suspension. He was suspended after blatantly refusing to step aside. This was in line with ANC guidelines that members who have been criminally charged should step aside from their positions or be relieved of their official duties.

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The pre-trial proceedings for his corruption case were postponed to 23 September 2022 when he appeared at the Bloemfontein High Court in June. He said then that the case had tarnished his public image and that the delays had been deliberately created to prevent him from participating in the ANC leadership race.

The Constitutional Court last week dismissed his application for leave to appeal in his bid to have the suspension declared unlawful invalid and unconstitutional.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Ace’s political ambitions ‘thwarted’… for now — political analyst on Magashule’s suspension appeal loss

The electoral committee has further decided that members who have been found guilty of, or have been charged with unethical or immoral conduct, or any serious crime, or corruption, cannot contest. Members who have been found guilty by a disciplinary committee for contravening the ANC code of conduct, and had their membership suspended for any period in the past 10 years, will be prohibited from standing for leadership positions.

Financial records

To eliminate vote buying and the misappropriation of campaign funds, Motlanthe said the full financial record of every campaign had to be maintained and submitted to the electoral committee. In addition to this, the committee had the right to demand further particulars and to inspect the bank statements of candidates, campaigns and campaign workers and to interview members of campaign teams.

The electoral committee can demand the full disclosure of all assets, properties, investments, donations and gifts of any member involved. This will require the full cooperation of the nominee.

In its attempt to rid the party of slate politics, the committee has advocated for all campaigning to focus on the capacity and track record of each of the candidates. Slate politics have for years been entrenched in the ANC with members usually running for positions in groups, and barely ever individually. 

National Executive Committee

The party will also elect its National Executive Committee (NEC) members at the end of the year with Motlanthe emphasising the importance of electing the best members to the 80-member structure. 

“The ANC depends on its leadership to guide implementation of ANC policies and conference resolutions, and to make decisions in between national conferences. The National Executive Committee is the highest decision-making body after the conference and our success as a movement depends on the quality, capacity and makeup of our NEC.

“The NEC is the public face of the ANC and must be made up of leaders who reflect our values and represent the diversity of the South African people,” he said. 

Motlanthe said that the NEC should also reflect a generational mix. At least 25% of members should be between the ages of 18 and 40. At least half of the nominees and elected members should be women and “we must include members of the different national groups in our country”. 

The nomination process will begin on 7 September 2022. DM


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