The ANC has temporarily suspended corruption-charged secretary general Ace Magashule’s membership of the governing party. Magashule, who is out on bail on corruption charges, was informed of his removal from office and suspension from the party in a letter from his deputy, Jessie Duarte, on Monday after the party’s national working committee meeting.
In terms of the suspension letter Magashule is barred from carrying out his functions as secretary general and from representing the party, either publicly or in any other forum.
The two-page letter, which was accompanied by a copy of the step-aside guidelines — which Magashule had defied — informed Magashule that he “may not make public pronouncements on matters related to the organisation”.
It also warned Magashule against engaging in any mobilisation of ANC structures or any other individuals or organisations on any issue, including his suspension and the instruction to step aside.
Duarte told Magashule that he would continue to receive his salary during his period of suspension, which would end when his trial was over. Until then, he was expected to update the secretary general’s office every month to inform the ANC on progress in his corruption trial.
Magashule’s suspension came after he had resisted the implementation of the step-aside guideline, adopted by the party’s national executive committee (NEC) in line with a resolution of the ANC’s 45th national conference in December 2017.
On Sunday, he refused to step down at a meeting with the party’s top six officials, arguing instead that he should be given time before the resolution was implemented.
Magashule’s suspension is a major blow to the radical economic transformation faction in the party, which he leads, and a number of whose key leaders also face suspension after being charged for corruption.
It also means that the faction goes into this weekend’s special NEC meeting, called to finalise the step-aside process and the list of those who will be affected by it, without him.
Magashule has attempted to broaden the terms of the step-aside process to include those who are accused of corruption but not charged, and had been expected to lead the fightback on this at the NEC.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not respond to calls from the M&G at the time of writing.