ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has written a letter purporting to suspend party president Cyril Ramaphosa in apparent retaliation. A letter of suspension was served on Magashule earlier on Wednesday.
Three versions of letters bearing Magashule’s name and the ANC letterhead circulated on social media late on Wednesday night, causing confusion as to whether the information was legitimate or fake.
In the letter strangely dated Monday 03 May, but which only became public on Wednesday, Magashule also lifted his own suspension, saying this was because he was appealing his suspension.
A later media statement by ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe appeared to acknowledge Magashule’s statement as authentic, and read as follows:
“The African National Congress notes the letter written by the secretary-general Comrade Ace Magashule to the President of the ANC Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa”.
READ: ANC suspends Magashule
Mabe said the ANC national executive committee “will be meeting over the weekend and will accordingly respond to the secretary-general”.
He emphasised that the decision of the national executive committee (NEC) and the national working committee (NWC) stands, effectively reiterating that Magashule was still suspended.
However, by Wednesday night the office of Ramaphosa in Luthuli House had not seen the letter addressed to him, insiders said.
In the signed letter to Ramaphosa, Magashule stated that a case had been lodged with the Serious Crime Offences Directorate and the matter of the 2017 #CR17 campaign was pending before court.
“It has been reported, Comrade President, that you and your Nasrec Campaign team raised money in an attempt to get the branches to finally elect you as president of the ANC.
It is common cause that this matter has been ventilated in our courts and the documents related thereto remain sealed. This particular matter relating to the sealing of the documents is pending before our courts.
“You will recall that quite apart from this matter being reported to our law enforcement agencies, the ANC has lamented the use and role of money in its internal election at conferences.”
In similar terms to the earlier letter suspending Magashule, his letter to Ramaphosa stated that he was barred from participating in party activities and had to report every 30 days on how the #CR17 case was proceeding.
“The decision to temporarily suspend you will be reviewed by the NEC every six months or from time to time or on request by yourself. You are also entitled to refer to the internal appeal processes and to act accordingly, should you wish to do so.”
Magashule’s letter either marks the start of a bitter war inside the party or could hasten his departure from the party should the NEC decide to give him the boot.
This follows a day of high drama following an ANC letter confirming that Magashule himself was suspended from the party. The letter dated 3 May 2021 is signed by party deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
“On 3 May 2021 the NWC acting according to Rule 25.70 read with Rule 13.8 instructed that letters be written to all affected members including yourself to inform them that their temporary suspension would be in the best interest of the organisation
“Accordingly, on the authority of the NWC you are hereby temporarily suspended with effect from 2 May 2021 until the final outcome of your court proceedings,” the letter reads.
Magashule is among members who were given 30 days to step aside or face suspension. He had made it clear that he was not prepared to step aside.
The suspension is in line with ANC guidelines which state that members who have been criminally charged should step aside from their positions or else be relieved of their official duties.
Magashule is currently facing charges of corruption and fraud linked to his tenure as Free State premier.
The ANC secretary-general used the 30-day period to consult with ANC leaders including Matthews Phosa, Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe - but still refused to step aside.
During his suspension, he would not be allowed to carry out his duties or represent the governing party on any platform. He will also be barred from mobilising structures or making pronouncements on behalf of the ANC.
He would, however, receive his full salary with benefits.
Magashule would be expected to update the SGO’s office about the developments of his corruption case monthly.
His suspension is a culmination of months of battles between his supporters in the NEC who rejected calls for him to step down and the group led by Ramaphosa that pushed for him to go. His NEC supporters had hoped that they could use the NEC meeting this weekend to further put up a resistance.