Many were left puzzled by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals’ (NDCA) decision to suspend Magaqa for a year, effectively disabling him from exercising the overwhelming amount of power his position gave him.
Magaqa along with expelled former league president Julius Malema wanted President Jacob Zuma ousted.
By suspending Magaqa until after the Mangaung elective conference in December disables him from advancing their plan.
But it is the reason given for his suspension that will certainly give rise to assertions that there may have been more to his suspension than the NDCA would let on.
In its final ruling, the NDCA said it had resolved to suspend Magaqa because he had shown disregard for internal ANC processes and disciplinary procedures.
The NDCA accused Magaqa of not furnishing evidence of his apology to Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba to the appeals committee.
The apology referred to by the NDCA was mandated after Magaqa’s guilty verdict for creating divisions by making derogatory remarks about Gigaba in a speech last year.
He was instructed to publicly apologise to Gigaba, failing which he would be suspended for three years.
Magaqa apologised last month, but a one-year suspension and immediate order to vacate his post as league secretary-general kicked in on Tuesday.
Failure to produce evidence of the apology, as the NDCA suddenly saw fit, proved to be Magaqa’s undoing.
Also puzzling is the NDCA’s recommendation to the ANC that it investigate the “unusual development” of members paying lawyers to represent them in disciplinary hearings.
The NDCA noted: “This is an unusual development in the disciplinary processes of the ANC in that the ANC constitution never envisaged that ANC members, who are subject to disciplinary processes, would, when exercising their right to be represented by a member in good standing, be engaging lawyers on a paid basis.
“The NDCA directs the ANC to give this matter further attention as it introduces a dynamic which may never have been foreseen by the ANC,” the body said.
The ploy behind Magaqa’s suspension could be that his fate has proved critical in that it has brought to two the number of ANC Youth League leaders who are unable to carry out their duties.
This is significant because once two leaders are not able to perform their duties – as Magaqa and Malema are not able to – the league must elect new leadership.
Elections of new leaders would also be triggered if more than three provincial executive structures were disbanded.
Currently, only three PECs – Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga – have been disbanded and endorsed by national leadership.
The NDCA ruling is certainly a blow to Malema’s plans to still control the organisation because it forces the league into an elective congress – which will likely be held as soon as possible.
As things stand, Zuma has firm control of the league and would want to cement this hold without delay.