IS ACE Magashule becoming law unto himself?
This is the question many will be asking, following reports that the suspended ANC Secretary General has blatantly rejected the suspension letter from his deputy Jessie Duarte.
ANC’s national working committee (NWC) on Monday resolved that all those criminally charged by courts and affected by the ANC’s “step aside” rule be suspended if they refused to leave their posts after the 30-day grace period that was given to them in late March.
Boom- Magashule, who is a senior in the movement refuses to abide by the rules.
Responding to the suspension letter, on Wednesday night, Magashule blasted his suspension as “fatally flawed” and ” in fact unconstitutional” and indicated that he was appealing it.
“In terms of the ANC constitution, my suspension is thus wholly suspended, until my appeal has been heard, and its final outcome announced,” Magashule said.
Magashule also called on all other suspended leaders to also appeal against their sanctions, a move that was expected to intensify the widened rift within the party.
“It follows that the suspensions of all affected members will also in terms of the ANC constitution be suspended with immediate effect,” he said.
In essence Magashule is defying the same organisation he claims to obey and respect. Yes, he’s law unto himself.
Surprisingly, he said he will write a letter suspending President Cyril Ramaphosa from the party in terms of the party’s 54th fourth national elective conference resolution which was used to suspend him.
This was despite the decision by the party’s national executive committee’s (NEC) resolution that only those criminally charged be asked to step aside and be suspended from the party until their prosecutorial cases are concluded.
Pule Mabe, the ANC’s spokesperson admitted the party’s NEC would deal with the matter and that Magashule remained on suspension despite his letter.
“The decisions of the NEC and NWC stand. The ANC requests that the secretary-general respect the decisions of the NEC and subject himself to the discipline of the organisation,” Mabe said in a statement.
ANC head of presidency Sibongile Besani said Ramaphosa’s office had not yet received any suspension letter from Magashule and it would be against the party’s decision if it was issued.
“There is no way that a suspended person can write such a letter and suspend another person,” Besani said.
Besani said, if this was true, the letter would constitute ill-discipline.
“I don’t think the ANC SG [secretary-general] would stoop that low. You don’t appeal and suspend. The DSG [Duarte] has issued a letter of suspension on him, so he cannot suspend anyone while he is on suspension. This was the decision of the NEC,” he said.
Besani said all those who had issues with the directive that they step aside had to launch appeals while they were still on the 30-day grace period granted by the party.
“The decision for people to step aside was made 35 days ago,” he said.
ANC MP Bongani Bongo, who also received a suspension letter from Duarte, indicated that he would remain in his post as he had lodged an appeal and was awaiting feedback from the party. The likes of ex NW Premier Supra Mahumapelo is likely to follow in the footsteps of his fellow comrade, so would others.
It seems the only other senior member who respected the step-aside rule is former KZN Premier and current deputy chairperson ANC-KZN Mike Mabuyakhulu, who was charged with corruption relating to the R28 million that the provincial government spent on the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2012.
ANC NEC veteran Snuki ZikaSlala says Magashule must abide by the rule, “there’s no doubt about that”.
It seems Magashule’s consultation processes with ANC stalwarts did not bear any fruitful results.
With the NEC scheduled to meet over the weekend (a heated one for sure), it is expected to discuss the stepping aside ruling of criminally charged leaders or their suspensions from the party.
Image (Defying his party orders. Ace Magashule has objected to the suspension letter).