- In a letter dated 3 May, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend him from the ANC.
- The letter surfaced after Magashule himself was suspended.
- But Magashule's allies say he wrote the letter before he received his suspension letter.
Did suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule backdate a letter he sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa's private email, in which he wrote that he was "suspending" Ramaphosa from the party?
This was the question that had senior party leaders scurrying around on Wednesday evening.
In the letter, which was dated 3 May, Magashule said he was informing Ramaphosa of his suspension, following the decision of the ANC's national working committee (NWC).
"You have been reported to the Serious Offences Directorate and the matter of sealed documents relating to your CR17 campaign prior and during the national conference is pending before our courts," Magashule wrote.
He went further:
Magashule added that the ANC lamented the use and role of money in its internal elections at conferences.
Magashule's letter to Ramaphosa bore great resemblances to the letter he received from deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
It read: "(a) You may not carry out the duties and responsibilities of the president of the ANC; (b) You may not represent the ANC publicly or in any other capacity or forum; (c) You may not make public statements or pronouncements on matters relating to the organisation; (d) You may not engage in the mobilisation of ANC structures, any other organisations or individuals, including on your stepping aside and matters related thereto."
At least two of Magashule's close supporters said he sent the letter prior to receiving his own suspension letter.
But News24 spoke to three key Ramaphosa allies who believed that the letter had been backdated "to create havoc and confusion before the ANC's NEC (national executive committee) sits this weekend".
A source close to Ramaphosa said:
In a statement, Magashule said his suspension from the ANC was unconstitutional and he announced that he would appeal.
"I have also, in accordance with the powers vested in me as the secretary-general of the ANC, and furthermore, in full compliance with the relevant conference resolutions summarily, suspended the president of the ANC, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa (sic)," Magashule said in the statement.
But two NEC members said they believed the move was aimed at creating a crisis at the upcoming NEC meeting.
A top party leader said:
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe also dismissed Magashule's move as troublemaking.
Party spokesperson Pule Mabe said they noted Magashule's letter to Ramaphosa.
"The ANC requests that the secretary-general respects the decisions of the NEC and subjects himself to the discipline of the organisation."
The ANC added: "The NEC will be meeting over the weekend and will accordingly respond to the secretary-general."