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Factions, corruption claims and Magashule saga to haunt ANC in 2021

The party’s leadership emerged out of the watershed 2017 Nasrec conference seeking to build a united organisation. But the past three years have underlined just how difficult it is to bring the different factions together.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on the Day of Reconciliation 2020 attended the ‘Young Boys’ Dialogue’ in his hometown of Parys, Free State, that focused on gender-based violence. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has entered the new year with more apparent divisions over numerous issues including the fate of its secretary general Ace Magashule and the quality of leadership offered by its President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The party’s leadership emerged out of watershed 2017 Nasrec conference seeking to build a united organisation.

But the past three years have underlined just how difficult it is to bring the different factions together.

The battle lines have long been drawn: either the ANC pushes Magashule out or watches on as his allies attempt to weaken the party’s president when the much anticipated national general council happens.

ALSO READ: Magashule allies defend him after ‘leaked’ integrity commission report

Magashule faces charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering linked to an asbestos project during his term as premier of the Free State. But he’s been refusing to step down in spite of the ANC’s own resolution that those facing serious charges should step aside.

“If branches say I must step aside… I was elected by branches at conference. I will go to a special conference and the branches must say to me ‘comrade Magashule, step aside.”

ALSO READ: ANC integrity commission recommends Magashule must immediately step aside

The party’s integrity’s commission also recommended he step aside immediately, garnering this response from Magashule.

“I don’t want to enter that space; we have taken decision and all the decisions of the national conference must be implemented and correctly interpreted so that we do what we’re supposed to be doing.”

WATCH: I will only take my cue from the ANC NEC – Ace Magashule speaks on report leakage

This current battle has further driven a wedge amongst feuding factions with those seen to be compromised – coming together under the umbrella of the coalition of the wounded, seeking to find salvation and a way to remain relevant in the ANC.

Revelations from the state capture commission have also contributed to widening divisions, with more ANC leaders being implicated in allegations of wrongdoing.

Corruption allegations have also been used in the party’s political battles, with those seen to be Ramaphosa’s allies or the so-called good guys also suddenly being placed at the centre of corruption claims; this saw presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko taking a leave of absence.

“The spokesperson has stepped aside, we’re looking into that matter and we will be dealing with it once we’ve gone into it,” Ramaphosa said.

The ANC’s leaders have also spent some time this past year arguing about their own family members benefitting from the tender bonanza that came with the fight against COVID-19

Many of these issues are expected to continue dividing ANC members and leaders in 2021, with some wondering whether the midterm review conference will soften or harden the obvious divisions.

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