ANC step-aside rule violates principle of 'innocent until proven guilty': Ace Magashule

Suspended secretary-general instead wants Cyril Ramaphosa's 'suspension' upheld

14 May 2021 - 09:05
Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has served the party with court papers in a bid to have his suspension declared unlawful.

TimesLIVE has seen court papers in which Magashule has approached the South Gauteng  High Court on an urgent basis, arguing that his suspension by the ANC last week was unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.

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He also wants the court to declare unconstitutional the ANC’s entire step-aside rule, which formed the basis of his suspension.

The resolution was first adopted by the ANC's national conference in Nasrec in 2017 and was recently fine-tuned by the party's national executive committee for full implementation. It dictates that ANC members facing corruption or criminal charges should voluntarily step aside from their positions.

The step-aside resolution further states that members should be summarily suspended should they fail to step aside on their own accord.

The ANC's top leadership last week served Magashule with a letter of suspension after he failed to voluntarily step aside.

Magashule is facing a raft of charges including corruption, fraud and racketeering related to a R250m asbestos eradication tender awarded in the Free State during his time as the premier. He is a co-accused in a long list of accused people including businessman Edwin Sodi, who won the tender with his now-deceased partner Ignatius “Igo” Mpambane.

Magashule argues in the court papers that rule 27.5 of the ANC’s constitution, which says those charged with corruption or criminal charges must step aside from their positions, failing which they be suspended, undermines the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

He wants the rule in the ANC’s constitution to also be declared unlawful, unconstitutional, invalid and null and void.

In addition, Magashule has asked the court to uphold the retaliatory and unilateral suspension he effected on ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Magashule will be represented by Mabuza Attorneys, who recently withdrew as former president Jacob Zuma’s legal representative in his corruption trial.

His court bid also means that Magashule will not be publicly apologising to the ANC after its NEC gave him 48 hours to do so on Tuesday for attempting to suspend Ramaphosa.

This is a developing story

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