The date has been set for South Africa’s top judges to hear the application of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule to set aside his suspension and resume his duties with immediate effect.
The full Bench of the High Court in Johannesburg will later this month hear the application filed by Magashule to challenge his suspension. The matter was supposed to have been heard on Tuesday but was moved to the end of June to be heard by three senior judges.
Magashule was placed on suspension on May 3 after his refusal to abide by the party’s instructions to step aside while facing criminal charges in the High Court in Bloemfontein.
In his bid to defy his party, Magashule acted against the ANC’s instruction that all organisational matters should be resolved internally – he opted to approach the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg describing his suspension as a “purge” in his papers.
Magashule claimed that the plan was to allow incumbent ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to have smooth sailing re-election when his party convenes another elective conference in December 2022.
In his papers, he said: “The real motive behind my being purged is the desire to remove me, by hook or by crook, from the all-powerful position of SG, so that the road to the re-election of President Cyril Ramaphosa and his faction in the next national conference is made easier.”
Initially, Magashule wanted his application heard on Tuesday but a new date has been set for June 24 and 25 in what promises to be a battle of legal minds in South Africa. He is represented by advocate Dali Mpofu (SC), while the ANC has four top lawyers to defend their decision to suspend him.
In their papers to rebut Magashule’s claims, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte submitted a sworn affidavit, in which she says that Magashule was, at all times, part of ANC meetings where the step-aside rule was discussed and agreed to.
Duarte also rejects Magashule’s claims that the motive of his suspension was to ensure that he or his supporters do not oppose Ramaphosa’s re-election at the party’s next elective conference.
“I deny these allegations. They are false,” says Duarte.
“First, it is false that Minister Dlamini Zuma leads a faction in the ANC known as the NDZ faction. As is the principle in the ANC, after every national conference contestants for positions reconcile with the outcome of the conference behind the elected leadership. To my knowledge, this is the position that Minister Dlamini Zuma has expressly adopted.”
She is also asking the court to dismiss the urgent application saying: “It is simply incorrect that this matter is urgent, because in the applicant’s view the purported crisis in the ANC spells a crisis for all South Africans, whether or not they support or vote for the ANC. This contention is merely atmospheric and has no basis whatsoever.
““This application is about one individual only, namely the applicant (Magashule), who has failed to follow prescripts and resolutions of his own organisation’s instruction that people like him, who are charged criminally, should step aside if they cannot give acceptable explanations to the integrity commission of their own organisation.
“It is simply not correct that this case places the nation closer to a crisis. There is no crisis,” Duarte insists.
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