What the suspension from the ANC means for Ace Magashule

On Monday the embattled ANC secretary general received communication signed off by his deputy Jessie Duarte informing him of his suspension.

FILE: Ace Magashule. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Ace Magashule has been suspended from the ANC and will no longer be allowed to carry out his duties as the party’s secretary general or be allowed to make public pronouncements on its behalf.

These are just some of the conditions contained in a letter which Magashule’s deputy Jessie Duarte sent to him on Monday.

READ: ANC serves Ace Magashule with suspension letter

A national working committee meeting instructed the party to issue suspension letters to members who failed to step aside over the past 30 days

Magashule - who is facing corruption charges - has stood his ground.

In the letter from Duarte he is informed of his suspension, which started on Monday and is set to continue until after his court challenge.

Duarte explained how the decision was reached and also listed four terms and conditions that would apply to Magashule during this period.

These include: not carrying out duties from his office; representing the ANC publicly; engaging in the mobilisation of the ANC; and not making public pronouncements on matters affecting the organisation.

Magashule will remain entitled to his salary and benefits throughout this period.

It’s understood he’s already indicated that he would be appealing his suspension.

READ: The ANC step-aside saga: The high-profile members facing criminal charges


It took Magashule more than three decades to ascend to the ANC’s national office.

He now has to step aside, making his tenure as secretary-general one of the shortest.

A Free State strong man, Magashule rose to national politics at the height of the 2007 seminal battle for control of the ANC.

He publicly backed Jacob Zuma for party presidency over Thabo Mbeki at the Polokwane elective conference.

Magashule and Mbeki’s cold war stemmed from Mbeki twice overlooking him for the Free State premiership.

This was despite Magashule being one of the longest serving party chairpersons – dominating provincial politics for more than two decades.

Zuma rewarded his loyalty in 2009 when he finally appointed him as Free State premier.

In turn, Magashule became a fervent Zuma supporter throughout his presidency, being part of the so called Premier League that brought together the then premiers of Free State, Mpumalanga, North-West and Kwa-Zulu Natal. This became a strong Zuma lobby group and campaigned for his re-election.

Magashule courted controversy throughout his political life.

Before becoming premier, he was twice fired as MEC over governance scandals.

In 1996 his ANC provincial executive committee was disbanded for infighting.

This saw him banished to Parliament’s back benches in 1997.

But this was short lived as he was back in the Free State again elected as chairperson.

However, under his leadership the 2012 and 2017 elective conferences that re-elected him chair were set aside by the courts as unlawful.

Now after three years at Luthuli House, Magashule is leaving the national stage back to the Free State.

While his iron grip has loosened, both his supporters and rivals warn that those writing him off as a spent force do so at their own peril.

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