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ANC’s disciplinary committee hammers final nail in Ace’s coffin with guilty verdict

ANC’s disciplinary committee  hammers final nail in Ace’s coffin with guilty verdict
Illustrative image | sources: Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule (Photo: Netwerk24 / Gallo Images / Getty Images / Felix Dlangamandla) | President Cyril Ramaphosa (Photo: Sunday Times / Gallo Images / Getty Images / Moeletsi Mabe)

The ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee has found former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule guilty of misconduct and he faces expulsion, a move seen as consolidating President Cyril Ramaphosa’s political power.

Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has seven days to furnish the party’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) with reasons not to expel him, a standard practice in the party’s processes.

This relates to his unilateral decision, without the authority to do so, to write a letter attempting to suspend party president Cyril Ramaphosa in May 2021 and cause chaos, which was quickly nipped in the bud.

Incumbent Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday confirmed that the NDC had reached a final decision on Magashule’s fate, following his disciplinary hearing on 23 May 2023, held on a virtual platform.

He was charged with two counts of misconduct for contravening rule 25 of the ANC constitution. One count relates to the letter in which he unilaterally suspended Ramaphosa, “and doing so without consulting and obtaining the necessary authority to do so from the officials, the NWC [National Working Committee] and the NEC [National Executive Committee] as required in terms of rule 25.6 read together with rule 25.7.0 of the ANC constitution thereby undermining the respect for or impending functions of any structure or committee of the ANC”.

The second count relates to his failure to apologise to Ramaphosa, ANC structures and members within 48 hours after being told to do so – in line with an NEC directive.

Mbalula outlined the verdict of the hearing as:

“The charged member is found guilty on count one and two as charged; the charged member is afforded seven calendar days from the date of being informed or becoming aware of this finding, to make written submissions to the NDC through the office of the administrator …”

It remains unclear whether he will furnish reasons. The ruling comes as rumours circulate that Magashule is planning to start his own political party ahead of the 2024 national elections.

Speaking to journalists earlier this month, he did not rule out the possibility of forming a political party in the near future.

“I don’t know if I will form another party … for now, I am still a member of the ANC. The people of South Africa have approached me … It’s not only people from KZN but all over South Africa. I spend a lot of time in Gauteng, the Free State and KZN, the North West and the Northern Cape, doing community service,” he said.

‘Ramaphosa’s power consolidated’

Political analyst Dr Ntsikelelo Breakfast said this development was the final nail in Magashule’s coffin:

“It is over for him. I think the recent turn of events basically consolidates the political power of Ramaphosa as a victor after the recent conference of the ANC.”

Daily Maverick reported in January that the ninth ANC Free State elective conference marked the end of Magashule’s dominance in the province after his allies failed to dethrone Ramaphosa supporters in the top positions.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: No friends of Ace: Magashule allies fail to land Free State ANC Top Five slots 

Magashule’s biggest mistake, according to Breakfast, was to act as a buffer for Zuma and publicly advance the radical economic transformation (RET) agenda; “because it was clear that he stood for RET, he kept on reminding in the public about the resolutions of the ANC; so, those who were aligned to Ramaphosa and are still aligned, they wanted something they could use to put him at bay and then when he was charged, that was the ammunition…”

Magashule was suspended by the party in May 2021 when he refused to step aside voluntarily after his arrest in connection with criminal charges relating to a R255-million Free State asbestos tender, one of the many questionable deals under his premiership in the province. The tender allegedly saw multiple high-ranking government officials receive kickbacks from money that was meant to fund the removal of harmful asbestos from the homes of the province’s poorest residents.

Although Magashule has argued he had a lot to offer, politically, Breakfast believes his expulsion will not have a major impact on the ruling party.

“I don’t think that politically there can be a backlash against that, Ramaphosa has got a firm grip of the ANC now.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Easy Does It says:

    It’s taken a while for the anc to act on this criminal with all their structures, process and procedures. When this comes to light, I wonder if it is their plans are to put Ace into orange overalls. That will make it look like they re serious about corruption. Maybe Molefe and Mahlangu will also become expendable? Just. Though.

  • Peter Vos says:

    So, when can we look forward to seeing him in orange overalls?

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Orange overalls? Never in a million years. Even if by some remote miracle the DA gets into power, they will not have the balls to arrest everyone from the top down, and jail them forever. It will be a case of “let’s forgive and forget.” We need a benevolent dictator right now, Singapore style.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Comedy or farce? If you have the upper hand, any crook can label another crook as a crook. The convoluted machinations to provide an illusion of legitimacy to any action will be found in clause 75(i)(b) sub-section 4(a). What is just a teeny bit surprising is that Mbalula holds the position of Secretary General. Or is that just the ultimate thumbing the nose at South Africa? The poor man is (amongst all the other things) unable to string a coherent sentence together. Are we supposed to be impressed as they fire each other, leaving only the lesser-tainted comrades to fill the cadre ranks? Pffft!

  • Sam Shu says:

    So what difference does this make? Will the ANC be less corrupt? More competent? I doubt it

    • virginia crawford says:

      Agree. The corruption charges spanning decades are clearly less important than disloyalty to the ANC. Aloota continua.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    “after his arrest in connection with criminal charges relating to a R255-million Free State asbestos tender”
    Are the criminal procedures still ongoing? I have not read anything for quite a while. In the meantime Ace is free as a bird, even making plans for the future😲

  • Gerrie Pretorius says:

    I’m sure elias doesn’t care too much. He already has a red beret and overall.

  • Gerrie Pretorius says:

    I must say, I think Breakfast is wrong. cr doesn’t have a grip on anything. Maybe the trough he and his anc cronies feed from?

  • G M says:

    I do find it quite fascinating that a senior ANC member like Magashule is excommunicated with reasonable efficiency for internal political wrangling, but actual criminal behaviour (on his part and others) barely warrants a batted eyelash.

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