Magashule set to rely on 2012 case against FS ANC in court fight against party

On Thursday, in the High Court in Johannesburg, the ANC heavyweight will use it in his attempt to have his suspension declared invalid, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Secretary general Ace Magashule introduced members of the ANCYL National Youth Task Team on Thursday 8 April 2021. Picture: @MyANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - A 2012 court application brought against the African National Congress (ANC) in the Free State by a former party member is set to be a crucial piece in the puzzle that secretary-general Ace Magashule will try to put together as he argues in the High Court that his constitutional rights have been violated.

Ironically, Magashule was the ANC's provincial chairperson being challenged when the party lost that case.

On Thursday, in the High Court in Johannesburg, the ANC heavyweight will use it in his attempt to have his suspension declared invalid, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Magashule was suspended last month after failing to step aside over the corruption charges that he's facing.

Section 19 of the Constitution protects every South African’s right to make political choices and to participate in political activity. And while it said that parties were best placed to determine how members participated in these, it also protected against both external and internal interference when it came to individual rights.

In the 2012 matter, the apex court found that the issue was not the ANC’s constitution but an application of its rules and dispute resolution processes. In this case, however, Magashule was arguing that the ANC constitution was under attack. He said that the 2017 step-aside resolution was at odds with both the party's own constitution and the supreme law of the land.

And while the courts said that his and the ANC’s relationship was a unique contract and that is correct for it to hear matters when members have been prejudiced or rules have been breached, such a case also came with major political fallout.

Magashule’s decision to approach the courts has left many, including some of his allies upset, questioning why a senior leader would challenge the party before the judiciary. But he has remained steadfast that this was a question of principle.

Some insiders have said that they hoped the ANC would opt to engage over the matter, but instead it seemed that the party was seeing this through.

The High Court is expected to hear arguments from both sides on Thursday and Friday.

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