ANC NEC deeply divided over the party’s step aside guidelines

The guidelines penned by Matthews Phosa, which were tabled on Saturday, bolster the integrity commission and recommend a 21-day process to be followed.

FILE: Matthews Phosa also warned against the indefinite suspension of members as their court cases could drag for prolonged periods before the courts. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress’s (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) is deeply divided over the guidelines for members facing corruption charges or allegations of impropriety.

The guidelines, which were tabled on Saturday bolster the integrity commission and recommend a 21-day process to be followed.

However, the document penned by Matthews Phosa also warned against the indefinite suspension of members as their court cases could drag for prolonged periods before the courts.

A heated debate was underway on Saturday, with some members pushing for the guidelines to be adopted and party secretary-general Ace Magashule, who faced corruption charges, to step aside while others want ANC branches to be consulted first.

While factional battles ensue over the ANC’s resolution to step aside, Phosa has attempted to set out timelines and rules that can be followed when implementing the resolution.

In documents that have been seen by Eyewitness News, the former ANC treasurer-general gives the party 21 days to deal with a member that is facing charges.

In the documents, which Eyewitness News has seen, the former ANC treasurer general outlines 21 days to deal with members facing charges.

  • Upon receipt of a referral from the Secretary or Secretary General of a matter for its consideration with respect to allegations of impropriety by a member, the IC shall commence its process immediately in this regard;

  • Within 7 days of having received such a referral from the Secretary or Secretary General, the IC shall inform the member of the referral, including the allegations that have been raised against the member;

  • Within 14 days of having received such a referral from the Secretary or Secretary General the IC shall appoint a Task Team or Investigator, depending on the complexity of the matter to investigate the matter and compile a report containing the available evidence and analysis on the matter;

  • Within 21 days of an investigation commencing, the Investigator or Task Team shall submit their Investigation Report to the IC;

  • The IC shall provide the member with a copy of the Investigation Report and request that the member submit their response to the Investigative Report within 14 days of receipt thereof;

  • Upon receipt of the members response to the Investigative Report, the IC shall review the report and the response and determine whether it is required that oral evidence be led by any person or persons and if so, shall schedule a hearing within a reasonable time at which the matter shall be heard. The IC shall also consider an application by the member if they wish to have oral evidence heard; and

  • The IC shall have the discretion to regulate its proceedings at its hearings in any manner that it sees fit and is appropriate for the nature of the matter under consideration provided that fair regard shall be had to the rules of natural justice referenced elsewhere herein.

The document says if the integrity commission makes an adverse finding then it should be submitted to the secretary general and presented to relevant structures

The secretary-general or his deputy would initiate the process, referring it to the integrity commission. The commission will then have two weeks to investigate, with powers to rope in a task team or investigators to assist in gathering and analysing evidence.

But Phosa does warn that the step aside resolution must be carefully considered, as it can amount to suspending a member for over a decade as their case drags before the courts. This, he said, could be a violation of their Constitutional rights and make them accessible to other parties.

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