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North West ANC crisis: Ace steps in

In a web: ANC secretary general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has met the party’s North West interim leadership as part of a bid to have them reverse their decision to suspend the membership of Premier Job Mokgoro. (Delwyn Verasamy)

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has met the party’s North West interim leadership as part of a bid to have them reverse their decision to suspend the membership of Premier Job Mokgoro.

Makgoro and four other ANC members of the provincial legislature — Aaron Motswana, Priscilla Williams, Job Dliso and Bitsa Lenkopane — were temporarily suspended by the party last weekend. 


The five were suspended for allegedly defying the interim provincial committee (IPC) and voting for Williams as chair of chairs in the legislature last Friday, rather than its choice, Lina Minga. 


They had earlier voted, together with the Democratic Alliance and other parties, to ensure that the election was held by secret ballot, rather than by a show of hands, as the ANC had wanted.

On Wednesday Magashule met with the IPC at his request, after ANC structures in the province allied to ousted chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, a key Magashule ally, asked that he intervene. 

Branches and the leadership of three ANC regions that were dissolved by the IPC — itself appointed by Luthuli House to replace the provincial executive committee it disbanded in early 2018 — have asked Magashule and the national executive committee (NEC) to dissolve the interim leadership core.

They have also asked him to override the suspensions of the five, who face a disciplinary hearing within 30 days — arguing that the decision was part of a pattern of factional behaviour by the IPC.

Earlier decisions by the IPC to recall the leadership troikas of five municipalities over collapses of governance, which faced stiff resistance from Mahumapelo’s supporters, were reversed by the NEC in December.

IPC spokesperson Kenny Morolong was unable to confirm the meeting with Magashule, referring all queries to Luthuli House.

Morolong said, however, that the disciplinary hearing of the five would be concluded within 30 days.

Magashule confirmed the meeting.

“We have already met to discuss the challenges the ANC is facing there,” Magashule said. 

Magashule said the five had appealed the IPC decision to suspend their party memberships.

“Those five have appealed to the NEC. We are dealing with organisational challenges. We will listen to the comrades,” Magashule said.

Ruth Mompathi regional secretary Kgabo Gaolathe said they had requested that Magashule intervene in the matter and that the party NEC disband the IPC.

Gaolathe said that the IPC had exceeded its powers, which he described as “borrowed”, in suspending the five. It had failed to meet the criteria for suspending them in terms of rule 25 of the ANC constitution, by failing to provide them with sufficient notice of the intention to suspend them. The IPC had also failed to provide them with details of the charges against them ahead of the suspensions.

“Time and again the IPC has proven that it is unwilling to abide by the ANC’s constitution in the decisions it takes. Matters are not being dealt with in the correct procedural manner,” he said.

“From where we sit, the NEC must take the correct decision and disband the IPC to allow the ANC in North West to rebuild.”

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