/ 10 May 2021

Apologise or face action — NEC instructs Magashule

Ace Magashule Introduces Members Of The Ancyl National Youth Task Team
Suspended ANC secretary general, Ace Magashule. (Photo by Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has been ordered to publicly apologise to party structures or face disciplinary procedures. This comes after Magashule wrote a letter suspending President Cyril Ramaphosa, in retaliation for his own temporary suspension on 3 May.

In his closing remarks during a national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Monday, Ramaphosa said the group had discussed the “so-called” letter of suspension written to him by Magashule adding that suspended secretary general had no authority or mandate from any structure of the movement. 

“The NEC agreed that such conduct was completely unacceptable and a flagrant violation of the rules, norms and values of the ANC. The NEC furthermore instructed the officials to advise the secretary general to apologise publicly to ANC structures and members within a set timeframe. If he fails to do so, the ANC will institute disciplinary procedures in accordance with the ANC constitution,” Ramaphosa said.

The Mail & Guardian previously reported how Magashule sent a late night email to Ramaphosa informing him of his “suspension”. This happened hours after a letter by his deputy Jessie Duarte informing him of his suspension was leaked. 

Magashule has maintained to the M&G in two separate interviews that he remains as the secretary general of the party. 

The NEC meeting has further weakened the party’s defiant secretary general. It came out in support of the resolution for Duarte to temporarily take over Magashule’s position.

Ramaphosa, who has gained the upper hand in the NEC, said that during the step-aside period, a public representative may not occupy any executive office or other position of responsibility in the legislative to which they belong. 

ANC MP Bongani Bongo was also served with a suspension letter, Ramaphosa said, adding that they will be entitled to remuneration and other benefits during the step-aside period.

Ramaphosa also spoke of unwarranted attacks against Duarte for carrying out decisions of the NEC, the national working committee (NWC) and officials. 
“These attacks have taken the form of threats, insults, unfounded allegations and misinformation. We have also noted with great concern death threats made against the NEC co-ordinator Andries Nel, and agreed that this be reported to the relevant authorities. The NEC reaffirms its full confidence in the deputy secretary general, and supports her in carrying out her duties as per the ANC constitution,” he said.

Magashule this weekend lost favour with the ANC Women’s League when it called on him to “humble himself” and abide by the decision of the NEC.

The secretary general’s hold on his own province in the Free State is crumbling and has been further hammered by the supreme court of appeal’s decision to dissolve its provincial executive committee. 

The NWC instructed the provincial leaders to find a political solution last month. 

“We need to intensify the efforts being led by Kgalema Motlanthe to achieve a political solution. To avoid a political vacuum in the province, we have therefore mandated the NWC to establish an inclusive interim structure to take the province to an elective conference in due course,” Ramaphosa said.

The NEC further affirmed the authority of the North West interim provincial committee with Ramaphosa saying that the structure must, “continue to discharge the mandate given to it by the NEC in accordance with the powers that it has in terms of the ANC constitution”.

The NEC’s affirmation of the North West’s interim structure will result in a further stranglehold against Magashule’s ally and former provincial chair Supra Mahumapelo

Mahumapelo is facing his own demons in the party after the disciplinary committee in the province ruled that he be suspended for five years and undergo political mentorship from former president Thabo Mbeki. Mahumapelo has appealed the judgment.