- ANC secretary general Ace Magashule says the ANC must take its time in acting on the integrity commission report that says he must step down.
- Magashule was in his hometown of Parys to address a men's dialogue.
- His supporters have been coming out in his defence, questioning the leaking of the report.
The ANC must "take whatever time we take" to decide how to act on the party's integrity commission report which recommends that he steps down as ANC secretary-general, Ace Magashule said on Wednesday.
In response to questions from the media about the report, which leaked the day before, the fraud and corruption-accused party official indicated that he would not step down immediately, but rather leave it to the party's national executive committee (NEC), from which he would take his cue.
He said he respected the party's internal processes, but that the leaking of the report had surprised him and amounted to "ill-discipline".
Magashule said there should be no pressure from the media on the ANC to get him to step down. "The ANC must deal with its processes as a liberation movement. The media must never pressure."
In response to a question by EWN's Tshidi Madia on what message his refusal to step down immediately sent to ordinary South Africans, he said: "South Africans are not the media. South Africans understand what happens in the country."
Magashule last month appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on 21 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with a R255-million asbestos eradication tender. He's out on R200 000 bail.
A day after the leaking of the integrity commission's damning report, Magashule went back to his home town of Parys in the Free State to address a men's dialogue on drug abuse and gender-based violence, organised by the Sello Maake kaNcube Foundation.
No ANC colours were worn at the event and the indoor sports hall where it took place appeared quite empty as organisers strictly adhered to government's Covid-19 regulations by controlling numbers and spacing out audience members on seats.
Some supporters of Magashule have already questioned the way the integrity commission dealt with the report.
Fellow NEC member Tony Yengeni tweeted that he would write to commission chair George Mashamba "to account for this absurdity", which was the emailing of the report to NEC members.
Spokesperson for the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association, Carl Niehaus, tweeted that forcing Magashule to step aside would be "undemocratic and unacceptable".
Magashule has previously said he would only step down if ANC branches told him to, as it was they who elected him.