ANC branches in Durban have rejected the temporary suspension of party secretary general Ace Magashule, demanding that he be reinstated immediately. Instead, the branches — from the eThekwini region which is the largest in the country — want the ANC to implement the step-aside resolution against all corruption-accused leaders, and not just those who, like Magashule, are facing criminal charges.
The branches — a number of which have already written to Luthuli House calling for a consultation over the step-aside rule — have given the party’s leadership 90 days to call a national general council (NGC) meeting to revisit the resolution and its implementation.
They made their move at the weekend as the party’s national executive committee (NEC) convened to discuss the implementation of the resolution, and Magashule’s refusal to accept his suspension.
On Sunday, at a media briefing in Durban, representatives of the branches said the ANC NEC does not have powers to amend any conference resolution without proper consultation of the members of the ANC, its branches and other party structures.
ANC councillor Ntando Khuzwayo, who leads one of the branches backing Magashule and former eThekwini chairperson Zandile Gumede, said that the resolution was not being implemented as adopted at the Nasrec conference.
According to Khuzwayo, the NEC had only gone after those who were being “targeted” by state security organisations, which he claims are being manipulated to fight factional battles in the party.
“The NEC cannot willy nilly suspend or amend conference resolutions to suit its internal fights,” he said.
Khuzwayo said the resolution stated that only those who failed to give an acceptable explanation to the integrity commission or refused to step down voluntarily, should be summarily suspended. A process should also be followed.
Khuzwayo said the NEC had failed to consult branches on the guidelines and had “rushed” to implement guidelines that were “lacking”.
The branches, he said, called on the NEC to “immediately consult and convene structures of the ANC to discuss these guidelines that have a potential to divide the ANC”.
“The NEC must not deviate, amend or suspend any conference resolution. The NEC must not be selective in implementing such resolutions but holistically implement conference resolutions without deviation,” Khuzwayo said.
“To suspend any of the ANC officials requires a process, but doing it in a factional manner will have the potential of dividing the organisation,” he added.
Should the NEC not comply, the branches would push for the NEC to stand aside in terms of the party’s rule 29 and force the party to hold an early conference.
Khuzwayo said Zuma’s detention would be “met with resistance” and would cause “anarchy”.