Agang members expelled           


Agang SA members who were involved in a meeting called to suspend leader Mamphela Ramphele have been expelled, the party said on Monday.

"Agang SA's NEC has taken the decision to summarily expel the ringleaders and to suspend others involved in the illegitimate unconstitutional meeting and decisions," Agang interim spokesman Philip Machanick said in a statement.

The meeting was held on Sunday in Alexandra, Johannesburg.

"Formal notices are being drawn up and will be issued to those concerned," said Machanick.

The party's deputy president Andries Tlouamma said on Sunday that Ramphele was suspended as president of the party, with a disciplinary hearing pending.

"She will be served with the suspension later tonight [Sunday] pending the date of the disciplinary hearing."

This was because she allegedly made major decisions without consulting the national executive committee.

"She appointed a task team and dissolved the NEC without consulting. She also made a decision of who should go to Parliament without consulting."

Tlouamma said party chairman Mike Tshishonga would be acting president until the charges against Ramphele were dealt with.

Machanick said at the time that the suspension had no standing.

"I don't think really anyone has standing to suspend her. The process to reconstitute the NEC was constitutional. The disciplinary committee to deal with a matter like that was not consulted," he said.

"It seems these people created their own NEC and disciplinary committee on the fly without consulting anyone. The meeting they called is very unprocedual."

Tlouamma said Ramphele was implicated in a fraud case. Therefore she was unfit to lead the party until she was cleared.

Machanick said the claim had not been backed up by any evidence.

Machanick said the High Court in Johannesburg was approached on Sunday to stop the meeting, where the decision to suspend Ramphele was taken, from happening.

Tlouamma said: "They got an interdict. We quickly went to court, and reversed it."

Machanick said the problem with the faction against Ramphele was that it had nothing to lose.

"Even if the party collapses, two of the people we are fighting against are MPs," he said.

"So, the MPs can pretty much sit in Parliament sleeping for five years since they don't have anyone to account to."

On the other hand, those in the party had its dignity and that of its supporters to think about, and keeping true to Agang SA's founding values, Machanick said.

Earlier this month, Ramphele and Tshishonga opened separate fraud cases with police over a bank account opened to receive a refund from the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC), believed to be around R200,000.

The New Age newspaper had reported that Tshishonga accused Ramphele of having direct access to party funds, and that she opened the account to access the IEC deposit without a mandate from the party.

Tshishonga claimed his signature appeared on the bank account's paperwork without his knowledge.

On June 13, Ramphele warned that members who tarnished her image in the media would be suspended. She criticised members involved in factionalism.

On June 15, a meeting was held in Johannesburg by a faction of the party to cast a vote of no confidence in Ramphele.

-           Sapa

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