The African National Congress (ANC) has reportedly responded to embattled secretary-general Ace Magashule’s court application in which he challenged his suspension.
According to News24, the party’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the criminal charges against Magashule were “very serious” – not frivolous.
“The applicant (Magashule) trivialises the charges against him and suggests that they are ‘an oddity if not a downright absurdity’, and that they are frivolous. But this is of course not so. The charges against him are very serious charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering,” Duarte told the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
She added: “If they are true, the applicant would clearly be unfit to hold office in the ANC. For the time being, the charges reflect negatively on his integrity and by implication that of the ANC in which he plays a senior leadership role.”
Earlier this month, the ANC suspended the membership of Magashule after he failed to comply with a 30-day deadline to step aside. His suspension was expected to last until the finalisation of his court case.
Magashule was currently out on R200 000 bail and charged with corruption, fraud, and money laundering related to a Free State asbestos tender, dating back to his tenure as premier of the province.
Magashule, however, approached the High Court in Johannesburg to declare the ANC’s step-aside resolution unlawful and to set aside his suspension.
The real motive
According to IOL, in his court papers, Magashule said his removal from office was aimed at ensuring that the CR-17 faction which supported Ramaphosa re-elected him as party president at its next elective conference in December 2022.
He also made serious allegations against Ramaphosa and his supporters, saying the political ideals were to serve the interest of big businesses which were white and ratings agencies, while his grouping was looking after the interests of “the poor”.
“The real motive behind my being purged is the desire to remove me, by hook or by crook, from the all-powerful position of SG (secretary-general), so that the road to the re-election of President Cyril Ramaphosa and his faction in the next national conference is made easier,” IOL quoted Magashule as saying in his court papers.
The court papers reportedly irked top party officials, including Ramaphosa.
The broadcasting television channel, eNCA quoted Ramaphosa as saying Magashule should be the last person to question the constitutionality of the step-aside resolution.
“For the Secretary-General to decide and take his own organisation to court and to question the constitutionality of the very constitution that he’s been implementing and adhering to is a big surprise.
“This is unprecedented but we will obviously need to go through that. The matter is sub judice and we must let the process run its full course,” Ramaphosa said.
Picture: Cape Town etc gallery