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