ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has to step aside pending the outcome of his fraud and corruption case, or be suspended, the party's integrity commission has recommended.
In its three-page report to the ANC's national executive committee (NEC), the commission says the party's conference decisions must apply "without fear or favour".
In its recommendations, it quotes the resolution, which states that ANC members who are formally charged should step aside pending the finalisation of their cases.
Should the officials not have developed clear guidelines on this process as yet, "such individuals will be instructed to step aside", the resolution read.
According to the report, Magashule has indicated he would abide by the decisions of the NEC, but should this not happen, the NEC should consider suspending him in line with Rule 25.70 of the party's constitution, the report said.
It is up to the NEC to decide how to act on this report.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said it's unlikely that the ANC would call a special meeting to discuss this report, as the leaking of the report on social media channels was "a little bit unprecedented". He said ordinarily the integrity commission would have presented the report first to the NEC in a closed meeting.
The next NEC meeting is set to be ahead of the ANC's January 8th celebrations next year to discuss the contents of the statement to be delivered at the rally, but since this is not a regular meeting, the integrity commission report is only likely to be discussed after that.
Integrity commission chair George Mashamba could not immediately be reached for comment. His comment will be added once received.
In the report, which is signed by Mashamba and dated 14 December, the commission said although Magashule understood its mandate and the process well, the commission "is concerned that there is growing negative perception about the NEC".
The commission said there is a perception among ANC members and the general public that the NEC is paralysed and not providing decisive leadership. Whether this was true or not, the commission said, these perceptions were damaging to the ANC.
"It is now perceived that the NEC cannot implement its decision against its secretary-general not as a form of protecting him, but because some of the NEC members are themselves implicated in wrongdoing," the report reads.
The NEC, which is the "highest decision-making body between conferences, is responsible for the increasing lack of trust by the very people it purports to lead".
The commission said it was worried that the NEC was dithering on conference resolutions and made use of legal opinion "to avoid implementing resolutions that are essentially ethical and political" and that it had promised to implement.
This was in reference to the NEC soliciting five legal opinions for its final meeting of the year last week when the issue of Magashule stepping aside was discussed.
The commission also slammed the party for reporting after each meeting that "unity is key" but that "factionalism and division are weakening the ANC". It said such unity "can only be built around a common vision and purpose" and was not about "keeping individuals happy in order to avoid division in our ranks".
It added: "It is not about allowing the organisation to be blackmailed around the slogan of unity" and should not be at the expense of the implementation of resolutions and decisions.
The report also summarised Magashule's representations to the committee, saying he was "ready to perform any tasks given to him by the organisation". Magashule appeared before the body on Saturday.
He further said that:
- he was bound by the decisions of the collective;
- he would "step aside" if so instructed by the NEC;
- he understood the ANC constitution, its rules and code of conduct;
- he had a clear understanding of the seniority of his position as the ANC's chief administrative officer and guardian of the principles and values of the ANC enshrined in the ANC constitution;
- he understood his responsibilities to ensure that all structures of the organisation perform according to its constitution and policies;
- he understood his role to protect and uphold the values that have enabled the ANC for the last 108 years to have earned the credibility and legitimacy necessary to lead the country;
- he was clear that the ANC was a voluntary organisation and therefore its members are bound by its constitution.
- Magashule phoned Mashamba soon after 21 charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering were brought against him last month linked to a R255-million asbestos eradication tender in the Free State.