Step aside, ANC integrity commission tells Ace Magashule

15 December 2020 - 10:39
The ANC's integrity commission has recommended that secretary-general Ace Magashule must step aside with immediate effect. File photo.
The ANC's integrity commission has recommended that secretary-general Ace Magashule must step aside with immediate effect. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The ANC integrity commission’s report on secretary-general Ace Magashule is scathing on the party’s top brass’s handling of his case — saying the national executive committee (NEC) hid behind legal opinions to avoid taking action.

The report, signed by commission chairperson George Mashamba, lambastes the party’s leadership for failing to fulfil its promise to renew the organisation and get rid of corruption.

The commission has recommended that Magashule immediately step down from his position pending finalisation of his corruption case.

“In his interaction with the IC, the secretary-general indicated that he will never resist the decision of the NEC even if he might not agree with it,” Mashamba wrote. “However, in the unlikely event of resistance to this , the NEC should consider suspension pending the finalisation of the criminal case against him in terms of Rule 25.70 of the ANC constitution”.

In the report, Mashamba slams the NEC for failing to take decisive action against corruption which, he says, has led to a myriad of negative feedback received around the party’s seriousness on fighting corruption.

This comes against the backdrop of the commission’s recommendations to the NEC not being acted on as well as the party recently seeming to backtrack on the "step aside" issue which saw at least five legal opinions being sought on the matter.

“It is now perceived that the NEC cannot implement its decision against its secretary-general not as a form of protecting him, but because some of the NEC members are themselves implicated in wrongdoing,” writes Mashamba.

“The highest decision-making body between conferences is responsible for the increasing lack of trust by the very people it purports to lead. The NEC seems to be doubting the soundness and correctness of its own conference resolutions, including its own decisions, especially those that deal with corruption.”

Mashamba said the commission was worried that the five legal opinions sought were being used by the NEC to avoid implementing resolutions adopted at the party’s 54th national conference, which ultimately gives clear instruction on the sanctions Magashule should be facing.

Unity is not about keeping individuals happy in order to avoid division in our ranks.
George Mashamba

The legal opinions, which cautioned the ANC against acting against members accused of corruption or any wrongdoing, were presented at the NEC meeting which ended last week Tuesday. The consensus from that meeting was that Magashule should not be ousted from his position.

“The IC is worried that the officials and the NEC are increasingly making use of legal opinions to avoid implementing resolutions that are essentially ethical and political and that it has continuously promised SA it would implement,” Mashamba writes.

“The ANC takes great pride in its constitution, code of conduct, and resolutions. These embody the ANC’s commitment and inherent sense of fairness and justice to all. This sense of fairness, of adhering to uniform procedures extends into our SA constitution wherein we find a myriad of checks and balances to ensure that all South Africans are treated fairly and equally,” he continues.

“The secretary-general, as the chief administrative officer is duty bound to ensure that the procedures of the ANC are correctly followed without fear or favour. Disciplinary procedures with regard to disciplinary action are meticulously set out in the ANC constitution and need to be strictly followed.”

Mashamba echoes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s remarks ahead of the NEC meeting last week that as much as unity was important in the ANC, it should not be at the expense of condoning corruption, ill-discipline or wrongdoing in the party.

“The IC understands that a united ANC is crucial for us to deliver on our promises. But unity can only be built around a common vision and purpose as understood when we talk of unity in action. Unity is not about keeping individuals happy in order to avoid division in our ranks,” he writes.

“It is not about allowing the organisation to be blackmailed around the slogan of unity. While unity is paramount it must not be at the expense of the implementation of resolutions and decisions.

“Decisions of the ANC and its conferences must apply without fear or favour.”

The commission recommended that in the case of Magashule, who faces 21 counts of corruption, conference resolutions on the "step aside" issue must be immediately applied.

This means that Magashule must vacate office failing which the commission recommends that the party must consider suspending him.

“In his interaction with the IC, the secretary-general indicated that he will never resist the decision of the NEC even if he might not agree with it,” writes Mashamba.

“However, in the unlikely event of resistance to this, the NEC should consider suspension pending the finalisation of the criminal case against him in terms of rule 25.70 of the ANC constitution.”

On November 10 2020, the Hawks issued a warrant of arrest for ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. In October, seven others were arrested relating to the same multimillion-rand asbestos removal tender Magashule is being investigated for. Here's what you need to know about the arrests and warrant.

TimesLIVE


subscribe