Luthuli House is yet to provide direction to the ANC chief whip’s office in Parliament regarding members affected by the step-aside rule, resulting in confusion and a deepening sentiment that the rule was implemented factionally.
Last Wednesday, ANC member in the national council of provinces (NCOP) Zukiswa Ncitha participated virtually in a question-and-answer session with Mineral and Energy Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, whereas the rule was that affected ANC members should take no part in any proceedings and only be available to vote when instructed to.
Ncitha faces criminal charges in relation to fraud, corruption and money laundering.
Ncitha on Thursday referred questions to Eastern Cape ANC secretary Lulama Ngcukaitobi, who could not be reached for comment. Critics charged that Ncitha was being allowed to conduct her NCOP duties because she was close to the Eastern Cape ANC leadership aligned with President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“You can see that this thing is being implemented factionally,’’ said an aggrieved MP on condition of anonymity.
Nomfanelo Kota, spokesperson for ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina, said on Friday that while there may be information in the media, “as caucus, we need to work based on official correspondence”.
“We know the resolutions; we have read them and we understand them. However, for now we have not yet received any official correspondence from Luthuli House regarding the list of MPs who will be affected by the step-aside rule,” Kota said.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte had previously said that Luthuli House was waiting for guidance from the presiding officers in Parliament on how the sanction against the affected MPs was likely to affect the work of Parliament and what the impact would be on the remuneration of those holding prominent government posts.
Ncitha’s criminal charges are similar to those of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
As mayor of Buffalo City metro in East London, Eastern Cape, she was one of the accused in a case relating to the transporting of mourners to the memorial service of former president Nelson Mandela in December 2013.
She was charged alongside her former deputy mayor Themba Tinta; former metro speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele; former Eastern Cape health MEC Sindisiwe Gomba; ANC provincial leader Phumlani Mkolo; Thembelani Sali; Ondela Vatile Mahlangu; Viwe Vazi; Zintle Nkuhlu; Nosiphiwo Mati; Dean William Fanoe and Nqaba Ludidi.
The accused appeared in court this week, but the seven-year long case was again postponed.
Gomba and Mkolo also feature on the list of 11 people whom the Eastern Cape ANC identified as step-aside candidates.
City Press heard that corruption-accused ANC MP Bongani Bongo, a staunch supporter of Magashule, had since taken leave.
Another ANC MP, Boyce Maneli, has previously been requested by the Gauteng ANC to step aside for his role in the irregular investments by VBS Mutual Bank when he was mayor of West Rand District Municipality.
In 2021, Maneli and Maphefo Letsie, the mayor of neighbouring Merafong Local Municipality, refused to step aside on the grounds that they were appealing the decision by the provincial integrity committee.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC was due to serve the affected step-aside candidates, who were yet to comply with temporary suspensions, including former eThekwini mayor and now member of the provincial legislature Zandile Gumede.
Gumede, a heavyweight among the list of 13 people submitted by the province to Luthuli House, until now has had a get-out-of-jail-free card from the provincial executive committee as it delayed the step-aside process against her.