Duarte confident Magashule will say sorry over Ramaphosa ‘suspension’ saga

11 May 2021 - 16:39 By kgothatso madisa
The ANC's national executive committee has decided suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule should apologise publicly for 'suspending' party president Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
The ANC's national executive committee has decided suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule should apologise publicly for 'suspending' party president Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times

The ANC is confident its suspended secretary-general (SG) Ace Magashule will apologise for attempting to suspend party president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Magashule stunned many last week when he issued a public letter announcing his suspension of Ramaphosa in retaliation for his own suspension.

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The ANC announced on Monday that its highest decision-making body between national conferences, the national executive committee (NEC), had decided Magashule should apologise publicly for his role in the matter and that disciplinary proceedings be instituted against him should he refuse to do so.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte told the media on Tuesday the party believed Magashule would abide by the apology request.

“We are confident the SG will rise to the occasion and follow the dictates of the ANC constitution,” Duarte said.

She sent the letter of suspension to Magashule as mandated by the national working committee, which runs day-to-day affairs of the organisation in line with the adopted step-aside guidelines as he has been charged with corruption.

She said the responding letter by Magashule attempting to suspend Ramaphosa was not at the behest of any ANC structure.

“We agreed there was no authority or mandate from any structure in the movement for such a decision to have been taken. The NEC agreed such conduct was completely unacceptable and a violation of the rules, norms and values of the ANC,” she said.

“We have been instructed to request the SG to apologise publicly to ANC structures and members within a timeframe. If he fails to do so, the ANC will institute disciplinary procedures in accordance with the ANC constitution.”

“The NEC decision is that the secretary-general should apologise to the ANC community and also to South Africans.

“First, this letter that suspends a sitting president in that manner that it was done could have had many repercussions and would have perhaps had repercussions. People had started calling from other countries to verify. So there is a need for a retraction of that statement made by the SG.

"Nevertheless, the NEC makes it very clear that there’s no legal basis in our constitution for that to have been done ... Therefore the suggestion was to request the SG to do so [apologise] within 48 hours ... although in the NEC body there was no timeline given. I just want to be clear about that. We’re hoping that within this week we will see the SG doing so," said Duarte.

Duarte reiterated she was still the deputy secretary-general and was not taking Magashule’s position. She said she would, however, be carrying out his duties.

Duarte said she felt she had to make it clear because of a “disempowering” narrative that she was taking over.

“I want to make it very clear: I am not the secretary-general of the ANC, nor am I the acting secretary-general of the ANC. I am the deputy secretary-general of the ANC ... The SG is temporarily suspended until the matters of his court case come to finality," she said.

She said the NEC reaffirmed that those who were 35 and older may not serve in the ANC Youth League National Youth Task Team (NYTT). This comes after a report last week that the new structure was rocked by allegations of fraud and over-ageism.

“It is affecting approximately six people and all six will be requested to not participate in the NYTT because that would be wrong.

“We’re also verifying people’s birth dates and all the many accusations that are flying around so we give the truth, no matter how difficult it might be to swallow.”​

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