Ramaphosa urges NEC to respect its own decisions on stepping aside

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Cyril Ramaphosa and Ace Magashule. (Gallo Images)
Cyril Ramaphosa and Ace Magashule. (Gallo Images)
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has appealed to the political consciousness of the NEC.
  • This as the NEC grapples with its own decision of stepping aside.
  • Ramaphosa said the problems of the ANC run deep.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has conceded that the ANC's problems run deep, calling for the National Executive Committee (NEC) to respect its own decisions and exercise "revolutionary political consciousness".

Ramaphosa made this plea during his political overview at the NEC meeting on Monday. 

He was referring to the decision by the NEC for those charged with corruption to step aside.

This resolution has become a bone of contention in the leadership of the party after Secretary-General Ace Magashule was charged on 21 counts of corruption, money laundering and fraud. 

READ | Should the ANC push Ace and others out? Dali Mpofu argues no, cites CR17 campaign

Ramaphosa said the decision the NEC took in August represented a collective determination to draw a line in the sand on corruption, three months later, however, there is growing concern within society and among members that the NEC is not committed to its own decisions, he said. 

"The challenge we face is not only about the implementation of Conference resolutions and NEC decisions. There is a far deeper problem of revolutionary discipline and consciousness. In the documentation for this NEC, we are provided with no fewer than five legal opinions on the implementation of our so-called ‘stepping aside’ resolution. 

"I am certain that there are none among of us who ever would have thought that the deliberations of the NEC would have come to this. As members of a voluntary organisation, we are all bound by our Constitution, by the resolutions of our Conferences and by the decisions of our structures," he said.

News24 previously reported that five legal opinions on the matter of stepping aside had produced contrasting advice by senior advocates. Opinions from Advocates Dali Mpofu, Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, and Mathews Phosa each agreed that the resolution was unconstitutional and unlawful.

An unsigned and undated opinion specifically aimed at Secretary-General Ace Magashule, who is out on R200 000 bail after being charged with 21 counts of fraud and corruption, says he could be instructed by the party's NWC to step aside, as he has refused to do so voluntarily, News24 reported.

"If he defies the instruction of the NWC, then the NWC may consider disciplinary action against the SG in terms of Rule 25.3," the opinion stated. Advocate Gcina Malindi, however, said if a decision was taken within the confines of the ANC constitution and the party's resolutions, it would pass legal and constitutional muster.

"We have sought these legal opinions and they may assist us in clarifying what is not certain to some among us. But if we are to reflect on the proud and glorious history of our movement over more than a century – on the great leaders who have guided it through the most difficult and perilous times – it is difficult not to see these five legal opinions as an indictment of the movement we have become. Yet it need not be that way," he said.

He appealed to the NEC's political consciousness which he said was founded on the party's commitment to the cause of freedom for all the people of South Africa.

ALSO READ | It's unconstitutional! Ace Magashule and supporters come locked and loaded for NEC showdown

Ramaphosa said the consciousness calls on members to be selfless, to make sacrifices in the service of the people, to always act with integrity and honesty, and to place the interests of the collective above narrow personal interests.

"It is this consciousness that causes us to abide by the rules of our movement and to respect the decisions of its structures. As leaders, it should be what drives our actions and informs our decisions," he said. 

He added that the ANC's leadership has the means and the responsibility to restore this movement to one of integrity and credibility, united in action, and placing the needs and the interest of the people above anything else.

"To do this, the ANC needs to be united with society. We need to narrow the distance between the masses of the people and our movement. We need to be rooted among our people and we need to derive our political legitimacy from their support for our movement. We can start to do that by respecting our own decisions and exercising our revolutionary political consciousness," he said.

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