Neihaus confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that he had received a letter of suspension from the party’s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.
He said the letter communicating his suspension pointed to misconduct resulting from a media briefing he held on Friday at former president Jacob Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla, during which he and other MKMVA members said they would form a human chain to protect Zuma from an arrest.
“I will file an appeal to the suspension immediately. I have been a member of the ANC for 42 years and this is a very disturbing and painful experience. I will definitely fight the suspension with all the means available to me,” he said.
Niehaus, a loyal ally of the former president and suspended secretary general Ace Magashule, becomes another casualty in the factional wars in the ANC. The Magashule faction has suffered several blows with the suspension of North West heavyweight Supra Mahumapelo and the implementation of the step-aside rule.
In the letter seen by the M&G, Duarte wrote that the national executive committee (NEC) noted with concern the inflammatory speeches made by Niehaus in Nkandla while he was wearing an ANC T-shirt, adding that the party had come to a conclusion that such utterances brought the ANC into disrepute.
The party has resolved that such conduct was in contravention of rule 25.17 of the ANC constitution and warrants disciplinary action, Duarte wrote.
Duarte added that the ANC will temporarily suspend Niehaus’s membership, because there was reasonable belief by the NEC that his actions of misconduct would continue and further damage the party’s reputation.
“Consequently, in the current volatile political situation in the country, aided and abetted by your incendiary speeches, the NEC has come to a conclusion that exceptional circumstances exist which justify that your temporary suspension come into operation with immediate effect in accordance with rule 25.60 of the ANC constitution and that the seriousness of your transgression and misconduct justifies affording you 48 hours to respond to the allegations of misconduct …” she said, adding that Niehaus may apply to appeal the suspension at the ANC’s national disciplinary appeals committee.
This comes after the NEC held a special meeting on Monday at which it lambasted the MKMVA for acting against the principles of the party.
At a media briefing Tuesday, Duarte said that the NEC viewed actions of sections of the MKMVA — which next year is to celebrate 60 years of Umkhonto we Sizwe — as a shameful blight on this proud history. As a liberation movement, the organisation had prided itself on its discipline.
“The threat of violence aimed at undermining our democracy and its core institutions
is counter-revolutionary, akin to similar displays and acts by extreme right-wing elements,” Duarte said.