Magashule turns to court to overturn suspension, avoids apologising to party

In court papers seen by Eyewitness News, Magashule wants the Johannesburg High Court to declare that the ANC’s step aside rule is unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.

Ace Magashule. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG – Suspended African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule has launched legal action against the governing party as well as its president Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.

Magashule was suspended by his party last week for failing to step aside after he was given 30 days as per the ANC's resolution.

He faces corruption charges stemming from an asbestos roofing project during his tenure as premier of the Free State.

In court papers seen by Eyewitness News on Friday, Magashule wants the Johannesburg High Court to declare that the ANC’s step aside rule is unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.

He wants a suspension letter issued to him by Duarte to be set aside.

He also called on the court to declare that the ANC's instruction announced by Ramaphosa that he must apologise for attempting to suspend the president is unlawful.

The deadline for that apology is Friday, 14 May 2021.

Magashule wants his court bid to be heard on an urgent basis as the party finalises plans ahead of the local government elections in October.

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‘THE ORGANISATION COMES FIRST’

Following a meeting by the party’s national executive committee at the weekend, Duarte described having to suspend Magashule as sad but she fiercely picked the ANC over her once ally, saying that the oganisation came first.

Duarte told journalists that Magashule’s suspension letter to Ramaphosa had to be retracted.

"Firstly, this letter that suspends a sitting president, in the manner that it was done, could have had many repercussions and would have perhaps had repercussions - people started calling from other countries to verify."

WATCH: Jessie Duarte: ANC NEC's decision is that Magashule should apologise

FLASHBACK: MAGASHULE – NO SPACE IN ANC FOR MEMBERS WHO TAKE PARTY TO COURT

In 2018 and contrary to his latest move, Magashule told the media that there was no space for its members who want to take their grievances with the organisation to the courts and not resolve them within party structures.

Several court rulings against the ANC brought by party members nearly collapsed its December conference.

At the time, one of the ANC’s crucial conference resolutions is the formation of the dispute resolution committee, which ANC members can approach with grievances about the party.

The party hopes that the committee will help avoid damning court findings against it, which ultimately destabilises the organisation.

But what happens if ANC members are not fully satisfied with how the committee has resolved their issues?

Magashule said that members, who were not fully satisfied with how the committee resolved their issues had no choice but to just trust and accept its findings.

He also said members that were not satisfied with the dispute resolution process should rather leave the organisation than approach the court.

Additional reporting by Clement Manyathela

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