A leaked letter informing President Cyril Ramaphosa of his suspension — purporting to be coming from suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule’s office — has no consequence, party national chair Gwede Mantashe said.
Mantashe said that even if the letter was authentic, Magashule had no powers to suspend Ramaphosa.
“Decisions in the ANC are taken by structures and not individuals,” Mantashe told the TimesLIVE on Wednesday night. “[The intention] is to cause confusion and he [Magashule] is doing someone’s bidding," said Mantashe.
He did not elaborate on whose instruction Magashule was acting.
“You can’t take decisions on your own in an organisation. It has no consequence. You can’t as an individual write a letter suspending another letter. It means I can also write a letter to somebody else to suspend him. There is no organisation that operates in such a manner.”
He went on: “Have you ever been a member of a church choir or a football club? In any organisation whether a church choir or a football club or anything else decisions are taken in a structure, there’s no individual who is more powerful than the structures of the organisation.
“Yesterday there was an NWC meeting, you can’t walk out of that NWC without having raised any issue and come out and write letters. That letter is not worth the paper it is written on. It’s of no consequence ,” said Mantashe.
On Monday, the ANC national working committee decided that all leaders facing charges of corruption and serious crimes who have not stepped aside should be suspended. It emerged on Wednesday that party deputy secretary Jessie Duarte had already written a letter to Magashule informing him of his suspension.
On Wednesday night a letter allegedly written by Magashule to Ramaphosa was leaked to the media. In the letter, Magashule informs Ramaphosa of his decision to suspend him in relation to the CR17 sealed bank statements.
A media statement also emerged in which Magashule announced that he had appealed his suspension, and that he had suspended Ramaphosa.
Magashule was not available for comment. Duarte refused to comment.
Head of the ANC presidency Sibongile Besani said his office had not received the letter by Wednesday evening.
The suspensions and counter-suspensions are expected to dominate discussions at the national executive committee meeting scheduled to start on Saturday.
In a statement, ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said the party was aware of Magashule's letter to Ramaphosa.
"The decisions of the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee stand. The NEC will be meeting over the weekend and will accordingly respond to the secretary-general. The ANC requests that the secretary-general respects the decisions of the NEC and subject himself to the discipline of the organisation," he said.