Supra Mahumapelo calls on ANC to suspend ‘step-aside’ resolution, says it is in conflict with SA constitution

25 April 2021 - 20:35
Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo says parts of the ANC's step-aside resolution are unlawful.
Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo says parts of the ANC's step-aside resolution are unlawful.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Tiro Ramatlhatse

Suspended former chairperson of the ANC in the North West Supra Mahumapelo has called on the party to suspend the application of its “step-aside” resolution until its next national conference.

Mahumapelo argued that aspects of the resolution are unlawful and the ANC would lose if it were to be challenged in court.

“My own view is that parts of that resolution which are in conflict with the law must be suspended until we go to the next national conference,” he said on Sunday.

He was addressing ANC branches in Delareyville, North West just days after the interim provincial structure that runs the affairs of the party in the province suspended his ANC membership.

Mahumapelo called on the branches to write to the national executive committee (NEC) to say some aspects of the resolution are in conflict with the law. He said to address the problem, those aspects should be sorted at the party's next national conference in December 2022.

He said the national conference, and not the NEC, was the only structure that can remedy the problems.

“Then there will be peace in the NEC,” he said to loud applause.

Mahumapelo read out the resolution which states that members who are accused of corruption and reportedly involved in corruption should step aside.

“We are not saying people must not step aside, we are just saying the process must be neat,” he said.

He suggested the resolution falls short as it does not explain “who is an accused” and also does not say “when a member is reported where” as members could be reported to a police station, public protector, Hawks, Special Investigating Unit, Luthuli House, the party’s integrity commission or to an ANC branch chairperson.

“It says such people must summarily be suspended because they refuse or fail to give acceptable explanation but the resolution doesn’t say who comes to a decision that your explanation is acceptable,” he said.

The assumption, however, is that the structure that should deal with the acceptability of the explanation is the integrity commission. But the commission should be able to identify the tool it used to arrive at its decision of acceptability and so far, it does not have such a tool, he said.

Mahumapelo said the resolution also said the ANC must respect the constitution of the republic and the rule of law.

“When we force you to step aside but you don’t do so voluntarily and we push you into the DC [disciplinary committee], we are flouting the constitution of the republic because the constitution says you are innocent until proven guilty.

If we remove you from your position by force we are flouting the constitution of the country
Suspended former chairperson of the ANC in the North West Supra Mahumapelo

“It means if we remove you from your position by force we are flouting the constitution of the country and the ANC can’t do that.

“If anybody in the ANC goes to court to challenge the legality of the decisions of the NEC on the rights that must accrue to citizens, that person will win in court against the ANC because our decision is flouting some aspects of the laws of the republic,” he said.

After the party’s Nasrec conference, and before publishing the resolutions of the conference, the NEC should have consulted the best lawyers in the country who would have checked that every clause of the resolutions complied with the laws of the republic, said Mahumapelo.

“It’s quite clear that was not done. If it was done, the law experts would have told us some parts of the resolutions are in conflict with the law of the republic,” he said.

By suspending parts of the resolution in conflict with the law, the ANC would be complying with its resolution and be in compliance with the laws of the country.

He said the party’s leadership would then call in the members who are accused, arrested and so on, and engage them and the outcome of those engagements would possibly see people voluntarily stepping aside.

“The leadership must not run out of patience to engage comrades whose standing in society might be such that it is affecting the standing and integrity of the ANC.”

He suggested that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who has about a week to step-aside, was being targeted by some in the party who did not accept his election at Nasrec.

He said they have found an opportunity to get at him through the step-aside resolution.

Regarding his own suspension, Mahumapelo said he has written to the party’s national disciplinary committee of appeal to set it aside.

“We are fighting that suspension. The suspension is meant to threaten us, to make us afraid. It is meant to suppress us and to damage our political reputation and standing in the eyes of the people.

“How can you suspend a person for going to a meeting, for talking? None of the people in the hall complained. The person who complained is someone who was not in the meeting,” he said.

The ANC’s interim provincial committee in the North West temporarily suspended Mahumapelo’s party membership last Wednesday, pending an outcome on the party’s disciplinary process.

He is accused of addressing a gathering at which he advised a local mayor to ignore the interim structure’s instruction to resign from office.

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