Maharaj steps down from leadership of ANC, SACP

This follows the announcement by the African National Congress that the 55-year-old leader had retired from its National Executive Committee. SACP representative Jeremy Cronin said that Maharaj remained a member, of both the ANC and SACP but had stepped down from leadership functions for personal reasons. ”This was not a sudden decision. The ANC NEC had given us considerable warning which preceded his arrest in July,” he said. 

Maharaj, who emerged from the underground in June this year to become one of the party’s key spokesmen, had spent most of the previous three years within the country heading the ANC and SACP’s underground structures in what became known as ”Operation Vula”. He was detained in July and released on R80 000 bail in November after being charged with terrorism under the Internal Security Act, along with seven other ANC and SACP leaders. After being severely tortured during detention in 1964, he was jailed on Robben Island for 12 years. 

There has been widespread speculation that his resignation was prompted by a lukewarm response from the ANC leadership to the Operation Vula arrests, but according to movement representatives he informed the organisation in June that he intended to retire, and that this would come into effect in December.

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.


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