ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule will appear before the party’s integrity commission, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his closing address at a national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Tuesday.
Ramaphosa said Magashule would appear on 12 December, then after, the ANC top six would process the outcomes and determination by the integrity commission and would then report to the national working committee (NWC) and NEC.
The NEC held its last three-day meeting this week where Magashule’s recent arrest became a big topic on its agenda.
Magashule – who faces 21 charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering – has been facing calls to step aside by some within the party.
Ramaphosa described the meeting as frank and direct with NEC members seeking to persuade each other through the strength of their arguments.
“The discussions have been underpinned by the desire to find a solution to the challenges that face us. Once again, we have proven many commentators and other public voices wrong. We have not torn ourselves apart or descended into bitter recrimination. We have not sharpened divisions; in fact, through our discussions we have narrowed the differences that exist,” he said.
Addressing the closing, Ramaphosa said the meeting had an extensive discussion on the implementation of the resolutions of the Nasrec conference and the decisions of the NEC on corruption and other forms of wrongdoing.
“We have reaffirmed several important principles. We confirm the firm stance we have taken on corruption and wrongdoing within our ranks and within society. There will be no dilution of the position we have taken.
“We will fully implement the mandate of the 54th national conference and the decisions made by the NEC, understanding that these are fundamental to the renewal of the organisation and to the restoration of the credibility of the movement among South Africans.”
He added the NEC would be consistent and even-handed in the application of these decisions and would ensure that a fair and due process was followed.
Ramaphosa said the party reaffirmed its decision on the stepping aside resolution on those found or implicated of wrongdoing, adding there would be no retreat from this position. We will be consistent and we will also be even-handed in the application of these decisions and we will ensure that fair and due processes are followed.
In order to give effect to these decisions, officials will finalise the guidelines that will be applied in instances where ANC members are formally charged with, convicted of or reported to be involved in corruption or other serious crimes.
News24 previously reported five legal opinions on the matter of stepping aside had produced contrasting advice by senior advocates.
Opinions from advocates Dali Mpofu, Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, and Mathews Phosa each agreed the resolution was unconstitutional and unlawful.
An unsigned and undated opinion specifically aimed at Magashule, who is out on R200 000 bail after being charged with 21 counts of fraud and corruption, said he could be instructed by the party’s NWC to step aside, as he had refused to do so voluntarily, News24 reported.
Ramaphosa, however, said while the NEC noted the legal opinions solicited by the top six, the ANC was duty bound to follow its constitution, its rules, conference resolutions and NEC decisions.
The NEC would also have engagements with the leagues and provincial secretaries regarding the stepping aside resolution, he said.
“We are confident that we will be able to traverse our way around this issue and still be able to implement the resolution of our conference.”
Ramaphosa stamped his authority against party members who he said wittingly or unwittingly, contributed to a public discourse damaging to the unity and cohesion of the NEC and movement.
“As we have said before, we need to desist from public statements that are at variance with the decisions of the structures of ANC and which are likely to fuel division.”
He condemned the burning of ANC regalia and inflammatory statements that were made by some ANC leaders during the first court appearance of Magashule in Mangaung in November.
“It is unbecoming for us as members to denigrate and desecrate regalia including sometimes the flag of our organisation in the way that some members are now seen to be doing. It is not acceptable and it must stop. Whatever form of unhappiness anyone of us has we say do not attack this glorious movement.”
The “un-comradely” actions Ramaphosa was referring to was televised as NEC members, including Magashule and Tony Yengeni, fired warning shots at Ramaphosa.
Yengeni, a known ally of the secretary-general, took to the stage and addressed the thousands in attendance, saying that unlike some, Magashule did not buy branches at Nasrec.
“We don’t have billions. We have the power of organisation, the power of unity. Not billions. Those who use money to buy branches and delegates to assume the highest office. That is criminal, it is corruption of the highest order and should not be allowed,” he said.