ANC report leaves little room for Ace Magashule to manoeuvre, says analyst

In the report, the commission recommended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule step aside with immediate effect, saying this was in line with the governing party’s stance as affirmed in August.

FILE: ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule addressing the media on 13 May 2019 on the sidelines of the special NEC meeting in Pretoria. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - A top constitutional expert has welcomed an African National Congress (ANC) integrity commission report recommending that secretary-general Ace Magashule step aside.

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In the report, the commission recommended that Magashule step aside with immediate effect, saying this was in line with the governing party’s stance as affirmed in August.

It further recommended that if he resists doing so, the ANC’s highest decision-making body - the national executive committee (NEC) - should step in and suspend him pending the outcome of his criminal trial.

Magashule met with the integrity commission following his arrest in November. He is facing fraud and corruption charges from his time as premier of the Free State.

While he had previously refused to step aside, Magashule told the integrity commission he would do so if the NEC asked him to.

READ: ANC NEC to deal with integrity commission report on Magashule in new year - Mabe

Lawson Naidoo, the executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), said that the report left little room for Magashule to manoeuvre.

The integrity commission has long been criticised as a toothless tiger. It has no mandate to instruct and in past cases, its recommendations had been either ignored or glossed over.

But Naidoo said that the tone of the report was considerably different.

“They talk about the factions within the ANC and about individual interests triumphing organisational integrity and the like. And they say that if there’s going to be unity, it’s going to be unity on the basis of principle, but not on the interests of individuals,” Naidoo said.

“In many respects, this report from the commission is actually reading the riot act to the NEC, saying the NEC is not providing the kind of leadership that is required for the highest decision-making body in the organisation,” he added.

Naidoo believes this is a do or die moment for the ANC.

“If the NEC fails to implement this resolution, it would be a very, very dark day for the ANC,” Naidoo said.

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