'ANC members charged with serious crimes must step aside' – ANC KZN

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says members of the party in the province who are facing criminal charges must step aside from the positions they occupy in government.

This comes as murder charges against Harry Gwala District Municipality Mayor Mluleki Ndobe were provisionally withdrawn in the Umzimkhulu Magistrate's Court on Monday. He was apprehended for the murder of former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary Sindiso Magaqa.

Another top ANC official in KwaZulu-Natal, Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba, was also arrested last week in connection with the May 2016 assassination of former ANCYL member Wandile Ngobeni and is allegedly linked to the attempted murder of another member.

READ: Sindiso Magaqa murder: Charges provisionally withdrawn against mayor Mluleki Ndobe

The ANCYL in KwaZulu-Natal last week also called on the provincial executive committee of the ANC to recall members of the party structures who are facing murder charges.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, provincial secretary of the ANC Mdumiseni Ntuli said it was incumbent upon the ANC to take society into its confidence about how it responds to legal matters facing its members.

"All comrades charged with serious crimes must step aside from their positions of responsibility in government, pending the conclusion of their criminal cases," Ntuli said.

"The decision is inspired by a commitment and determination to defend and advance the interests of our movement and that of the masses of our people."

READ: The ANC's promise to SA: It's the end of the road for corrupt officials

Ntuli further said that should members refuse to step aside, they would "act using the constitution of the ANC".

"Comrades will be consulted within the next seven to 14 days," he said, adding that those affected by the decision would be given the opportunity to respond.

Ntuli further said that court cases had divided ANC members in the province.

"The arrests of some ANC leaders have provoked intense tension between and among comrades often going to court in support of the accused and those in solidarity with the families of the deceased," said Ntuli.

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