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Ace Magashule’s allies threaten to resign en masse as ‘step aside’ rule divides ANC NEC

Plan is to collapse the NEC to force early elective conference, says insider

29 March 2021 - 10:52 By kgothatso madisa
Supporters of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule are pushing back against a decision by the organisation's NEC that those facing criminal charges step aside.
Supporters of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule are pushing back against a decision by the organisation's NEC that those facing criminal charges step aside.
Image: File photo

The allies of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule plan to resign en masse to force an early elective national conference should he be forced to step aside from his position.

This comes as they push back against a decision by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) that those facing criminal charges vacate their position.

A Magashule ally, who asked not to be named, said resignations are under consideration should they lose the battle in the NEC this afternoon.

“That will be the last resort. We are still going to fight.”

The NEC meeting is expected to reconvene at 5pm today after a marathon meeting that lasted until the early hours of Monday.

TimesLIVE understands the NEC meeting descended into chaos as Magashule’s supporters fought back against the view of the majority of those in attendance that he should step aside.

It came after a report by the national officials, dubbed the top six, said those facing criminal charges must step aside in seven days or face suspension.

At least 10 ANC integrity committee reports were discussed in the meeting, including the one recommending Magashule step aside with immediate effect.

Insiders said the majority of ANC NEC members agreed the report on Magashule be adopted and that he be given time to voluntarily step aside.

Magashule’s allies were shocked when some NEC members they thought were in their camp openly supported the decision to remove Magashule.

“It was well planned. The rumours of a cabinet reshuffle were planted as a strategy to disorganise. Those who don’t want to lose their jobs had to toe the line and those with ambitions to ascend to cabinet switched sides.”

Magashule is said to have told the meeting he disagreed with the decision, which led to his backers causing chaos in the meeting.

Following remarks from Magashule’s backers, the top six agreed just before midnight that they be given more time to deliberate the matter.

An NEC member sympathetic to Magashule told TimesLIVE: “We’re going to correct that statement [step aside in seven days] when the top six come back. We’re on a break because we said they must go discuss. When they come we’re going to correct that statement because we don’t agree.

“It’s mostly the constitutionality of this matter we don’t agree with. By the end of the day, that statement will be corrected,” said the NEC member.

“They later came back with a proposal that those facing charges be given 14 days to step aside instead of the proposed seven days.”

This was, however, also rejected by Magashule’s backers.

According to another insider, this led to threats of resignations from those sympathetic to the radical economic transformation (RET) faction.

Another NEC member opposed to Magashule staying said the NEC would remove him through “consensus”.