ANC NEC tells Ace Magashule: no more secret hotel meetings
Secretary-general says he will keep colleagues in the loop in future
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has been reprimanded by other members of the party's top six for holding a secret meeting with former president Jacob Zuma - and has been ordered not to meet clandestinely with other party members.
The party's national executive committee (NEC) heard yesterday that the top six discussed the matter and agreed that party leaders must not meet in dark corners.
"We have agreed that, moving forward … we don't want people to have [secret meetings]," Magashule told the media on the sidelines of the special NEC meeting on Saturday.
"People must have ANC meetings … Provinces must be able to invite one another so that leaders don't meet in corners," he said, adding that it was better to work "collectively", Magashule said.
"It is better if we discuss organisational issues [in the open]. We should know what is happening. I should know where the president is and the president should know where I am. And if I am going to have a meeting somewhere which might actually be construed as something else, it is better to inform the leadership," he said.
The Sunday Times exposed the meeting at the Maharani hotel in Durban involving Zuma, Magashule and their allies in August. They are believed to have discussed a plan to challenge the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Insiders said Magashule conceded that the Maharani meeting did not serve the cause of party unity but denied that he was part of a plot to undermine Ramaphosa.
This week, another Zuma ally, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, engaged advocate Dali Mpofu to challenge the NEC's decision in August to dissolve the North West ANC leadership.
Mahumapelo, who was chair of the ANC in the province, wants the decision reversed, saying his removal was procedurally unfair and contrary to the party constitution. The matter will be heard in the Johannesburg high court on Friday.
Magashule said that despite efforts to work together, the ANC still faced challenges. "There are still comrades who are going to court … we are not going to tire [trying] to engage them and show them the light."
In an apparent attempt to present a united front, Ramaphosa wished Magashule a happy birthday in front of the cameras. He turned 59 yesterday.
The NEC was said to be divided on the integrity commission recommendation that party members implicated in the VBS investigation conducted for the Reserve Bank should step down.
One of them, ANC Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza, has asked Magashule to allow his side of the story to be heard before any action is taken against him.
An NEC member close to Ramaphosa said: "There are too many hands involved and once you ask one person to step aside, they will point fingers at the next person."