- ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has vowed to never leave the ANC.
- He said he would only step aside if instructed by party branches at a conference.
- Magashule said this while addressing a couple of thousand supporters in Mangaung.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has vowed to only step aside if party branches demand it.
Magashule said this following his first court appearance in Mangaung where he was granted bail of R200 000 after he was charged with 21 counts of fraud, corruption, and money laundering.
The charges are related to the beleaguered R255-million asbestos project in the Free State.
"I will respect the voices of branch. If branches say I must step aside,” he said, adding that only when branches at a special conference demanded that he should step aside would he comply.
Speculation has been rife about whether Magashule would step aside from his position as the party’s secretary-general.
The ANC has remained mum on whether it would call a special national executive committee to discuss Magashule’s charge, only saying that it was "seized" with the matter.
The NEC, the party's highest decision-making body between conferences, resolved in August for all members who have charges against them, or are implicated in a wrongdoing, to step aside.
After protests by some leaders, including former state security minister Bongani Bongo, who refused to step down after he was arrested, the National Working Committee sort legal guidance on the guidelines for the resolution.
"I will respect the voices of branch. If branches say I must step aside," he said, adding that only when branches at a special conference said that he should step aside, would he comply,"Magashule siad.
"If branches say step aside, I will do so. Nobody and nobody can remove us.
"I will never leave the ANC. I will campaign for it. You won't remove me you will find me there. You can take whatever decision, I will be ANC. I will go and work," he said.
At least 2 000 supporters attended Magashule’s court appearance, including prominent members of the governing party.
Some supporters who donned party colours went as far as burning T-shirts with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s face on them.
Magashule slammed this as un-ANC. He said, while there were differences within the leadership of the party, he worked well with his colleagues in the top six.