The ANC’s integrity commission has recommended that the party’s corruption accused secretary general, Ace Magashule, should be suspended from office and instructed to stand aside pending the outcome of his corruption trial.
The commission wants the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) to push ahead with implementing the resolution of its 54th national conference in December 2017 and remove Magashule from office over the corruption charges.
Its recommendations will go to the party’s disciplinary committee and the NEC, which will meet again in January, for implementation.
Magashule was arrested last month in connection with the R255-million Free State asbestos audit scandal over which several Free State politicians, officials and tenderpreneur Edwin Sodi had been nabbed by the Hawks earlier in the year.
Magashule is out on bail of R200 000 and will appear in court again in February.
In its report on December 14, the integrity commission (IC), chaired by ANC veteran George Mashamba, said its meeting with Magashule on December 12 had been “long” and had “covered several issues”.
The commission said Magashule had informed it that he would “step aside” if instructed to do so by the party’s NEC.
The commission said it was concerned by the perception, correct or otherwise, that the NEC was failing to implement the stand aside resolution and that it appeared to be “doubting the soundness and correctness of its own conference resolutions” by failing to implement them.
There was a perception, it said, that this was a result of attempts to protect the secretary general and of NEC members to stall action that would ultimately see them being forced to stand aside.
“The IC understands that a united ANC is crucial for us to deliver on our promises. But unity can only be built around a common vision and purpose. Unity is not about keeping individuals happy in order to avoid division in our ranks. It is not about allowing the organisation to be blackmailed around the slogan of unity,” it said. “Decisions of the ANC and its conferences must be implemented without fear or favour.”
The commission recommended the “immediate” implementation of the resolution in Magashule’s case and that, in the “unlikely case” that he should resist, the NEC should suspend him.
They mean that Magashule, who is responsible for the running of the party machinery, will be removed from the process of overseeing the 20 regional and provincial party conferences, which begin in January after being placed on hold because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Magashule, who was previously the Free State premier and ANC chairperson, will also be absent from the crucial mid-term national general council in May, at which his supporters had been hoping to build a platform from which he could make a bid for the party presidency in 2022.
Magashule and ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not answer calls from the Mail & Guardian at the time of writing.