Cyril Ramaphosa tells ANC MPs his 'suspension' letter has no standing

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. (Photo: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP)
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. (Photo: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP)
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa told the ANC's parliamentary caucus that his "suspension" letter from embattled secretary-general Ace Magashule meant nothing, a source said.
  • The "suspension" letter from Magashule surfaced late on Wednesday night.
  • Acting spokesperson for the ANC caucus, Nomfanelo Kota, said Ramaphosa said the letter was "null and void".

President Cyril Ramaphosa told ANC MPs at a parliamentary caucus meeting that it was his view that the "suspension" letter which embattled secretary-general Ace Magashule sent him had no standing, a source told News 24.

The source, who attended the meeting, said: "He said he received it and in his view, it has no standing."

The letter referred to was one which Magashule sent to Ramaphosa, to inform Ramaphosa of his "suspension".

The source, who is sympathetic to Ramaphosa, said MPs agreed with Ramaphosa that the letter did not have any standing, and added that those in the caucus meeting who expressed support for Magashule in the past did not openly disagree.

"They never engage in formal meetings, unless there's an opportunity that avails itself."

Acting spokesperson for the ANC caucus, Nomfanelo Kota, confirmed that Ramaphosa addressed the caucus on Thursday morning.

She said that during his opening remarks, he said he learnt with "dismay about his so-called suspension" and added that it was "null and void". 

Ramaphosa called on the ANC caucus to recommit themselves to communities ahead of the by-elections on 19 May, avail themselves to aid in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and enact legislation addressing the needs of South Africans.

According to Kota, he also said South Africans wanted a united ANC, so it would be in the public representatives' interests to work towards that ideal.

READ | Ace Magashule wrote backdated suspension letter to Cyril Ramaphosa to cause trouble - ANC insiders

Magashule himself was suspended, it emerged on Wednesday, after his deputy, Jessie Duarte, sent him a letter on behalf of the party's national working committee.

But Magashule's letter to Ramaphosa appeared to be backdated to 3 May.

EXPLAINER | The last 48 hours of high-drama in the ANC: This is what happened

The ANC issued a statement shortly after, saying that the national executive committee's decision at the end of March that criminally charged members, like Magashule, should step down or face suspension, was still standing 

It added that Magashule's actions would be discussed at this weekend's NEC meeting and that he should "subject himself to the discipline of the organisation". 

The ANC's uMkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus, a key Magashule ally, said the letter was written before Duarte's letter, which meant Magashule had the authority to suspend Ramaphosa. 

But ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe said Magashule did not have the power to do so.

"Always remember one basic thing to make your judgement. No individual has the power to suspend anybody in an organisation. Structures take those tasks," Mantashe said.

Ramaphosa's meeting with the ANC's parliamentary caucus was a routine one, ahead of his session in the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon, when he is expected to answer questions.

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