Jessie Duarte on difficulty of getting leaders to step aside: 'What if they are vindicated by court?'

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ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
Denzil Maregele
  • Getting ANC leaders who have been compromised to step down is not a simple matter, party deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says.
  • Some leaders are asked to step down, but when the case is dropped, there is no going back, she said.
  • Duarte did not want to compromise discussions by the party by speaking out about these issues.

ANC deputy secretary-general has weighed in on getting ANC leaders to step down when they are charged with serious crimes, saying it is not a simple matter.

"The fact of the matter is that we can’t treat this too simplistically," Duarte told journalists at a briefing in Polokwane on Friday which focused on the ANC’s January 8th birthday rally, set to take place there in the second weekend of January.

“Allegations are allegations and as we see, as we go along, there are cases where people have been accused and the cases are being thrown out of court after they vacated the positions they were in – and there is no coming back after that.”

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in August set aside on procedural grounds the findings against ANC Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza with regards to the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.

Msiza was suspended from his position in 2018 after the ANC’s integrity commission recommended he step aside, but he was reinstated two years later by the party’s National Executive Committee as no criminal charges were brought against him at that time.

READ | Magashule must immediately step down, says ANC's integrity commission

Msiza is one of the examples used by those who argue that leaders like ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule should remain in his position even as 21 charges of fraud, corruption, and money-laundering were brought against him in connection with an asbestos eradication tender.

Former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede was also recently allowed to resume her activities in the party and she was reinstated as a member of the provincial legislature after the party's provincial executive committee said the court case against her, brought 18 months ago, was almost non-existent.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told journalists that questions about compromised leaders were not allowed during a briefing that should focus on the ANC’s celebrations, but Duarte responded on the matter nevertheless.

She also said: 

“The NEC of the ANC is really seized quite diligently with this matter, and I know that you would like me to give you answers here and now that might undo what the NEC is discussing, and I do not wish to do so.”

ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile has warned that the ANC should allow proper procedures in Magashule's case because if he weren't heard it could cause divisions.

The party's integrity commission this week recommended in a report that the ANC's NEC should ask Magashule to step down. Magashule said he would wait for the report to be discussed in the NEC first, which is expected to meet again only next month. 

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