/ 5 May 2021

‘He can’t just write letters out of anger’: Mantashe reacts to Magashule’s ‘suspension’ of Ramaphosa

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ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe has dismissed a last ditch attempt by temporarily suspended party secretary general Ace Magashule to suspend party president Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Speaking to the Mail and Guardian on Wednesday evening Mantashe said Magashule was making a decision in a fit of pique, adding that the ANC would dismiss it as coming from an aggrieved individual. 

On Wednesday night, a letter purportedly from Magashule was leaked on social media. In it he states that he will appeal the ANC’s decision and that deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has no power to suspend him. The letter further states that Magashule is instead suspending Ramaphosa.

Confirming the authenticity of the letter, Mantashe said Magashule’s move had not been discussed by the party.

“This is an organisation. You don’t wake up angry and take a decision and communicate it. This is of no consequence because we were at the national working committee yesterday and this decision was not discussed. He makes a decision at his home alone and writes to the president. That is not how decisions are made in an organisation.” 

This leaked letter follows an earlier report that Magashule had received a letter from his deputy, Duarte, suspending him as secretary general. 

Magashule also confirmed the letter as having come from him telling the M&G that he was still the secretary general and this is not the way he would leave the party. 

“I was elected by conferences. That letter is not fake. I just told Pule [Mabe] that that letter is not fake. We know what they are trying to do. Why don’t you read those 10 [Nasrec resolution] points. They are using state organs and we have been quiet and we know this. We know that they are cooking something against Supra [Mahumapelo], [Bongani] Bongo and Lindiwe Sisulu. The letter was delivered,” Magashule told the M&G.

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”.

However in Magashule’s letter he states that Duarte had no “authority to issue such letters”.

“Thus the letter is fatally flawed, and in fact unconstitutional. Furthermore these letters are based on a selective and factional interpretation of the relevant resolution,” Magashule says.

“I herewith announce that I am immediately, and formally, appealing this unconstitutional suspension. In terms of the ANC Constitution, my suspension is thus wholly suspended, until my appeal has been heard, and it’s final outcome announced,” the suspended ANC secretary general writes. 

In a bizarre twist, Magashule claims he is duty bound to uphold the party’s constitution and all administrative processes; urging his colleagues to also follow appropriate internal appeal processes. 

“It follows that the suspensions of all affected members will also in terms of the ANC Constitution be suspended with immediate effect. I have also, in accordance with the powers vested in me as the Secretary General of the ANC… summarily suspended the President of the ANC, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa. This is done in terms of Resolution 8.2 of the 54th National Conference, which states that, ‘Every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the Integrity Committee immediately, or faces DC processes….,and Resolution 8.3 that further provides for the suspension of, “… people who fail to give an acceptable explanation, or to voluntarily step down while they face disciplinary, investigative or prosecutorial procedures”.

“I call on all members of the African National Congress to act with revolutionary dignity and respect, and to uphold the ANC Constitution. None of us should bow to illegal and unconstitutional actions. In doing so we must protect the unity of the ANC as leader of society,” Magashule concludes.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge.