African National Congress (ANC) Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte says embattled ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s supporters are leaking NEC and Top Six audio recordings.

The outspoken Duarte says the leaks are meant to draw people into factions. But she says she has resisted being drawn into any faction.

Duarte has appealed to Magashule not to fight back but to work within the prescripts of the party.

The ANC Deputy Secretary General says no faction can rely on her support as the party Secretary General fights for his political life.

Duarte had this message for the two warring ANC factions. “You cannot rely on me to be part of a faction that you might lead.”

In staggering admission, Duarte says supporters of politically and legally embattled Ace Magashule are behind a concerted effort to leak NEC and Top 6 audio recordings of meetings.

Fightback campaign

Duarte says this is a part of a fightback campaign by Magashule’s supporters. “The previous leaks from the NEC showed people that are speaking in favour of the SG  and other people voices weren’t leaked. It’s people who support the SG who leaked these things.”

As the days draw closer to the month-end deadline for Magashule to step aside, Duarte says the ANC should have expected the Secretary General to fight back.

“I think anybody who is asked to step aside begins to fight to their political life and it should be expected. When your challenge in the organisation is to follow the prescripts of the ANC and one would hope the SG would accept that perspective.”

In a plea to ANC members and leaders, the Deputy Secretary General has called for calm no matter what happens to those who have to step aside.

“My personal hope is that we go through the next few weeks with less high demand for action that might happen or not happen. we must go and help the ANC.”

Duarte says she will perform the functions of the Secretary General should Magashule step aside. “Whatever happens I will remain the ANC deputy secretary general but the constitution says that I must perform the functions of the SG if he isn’t there, but I will remain the SG.”

The ANC has called on its leaders who have to step aside not to create chaos that the party will find hard to explain to South Africans.

In the interview below, ANC DSG Jessie Duarte speaks to SABC about leaked audio, factions and Magashule: 

Step aside policy 

In December last year, the ANC Integrity Committee recommended that Magashule must step aside over concerns that there is growing negative perception about the ANC’s National Executive Commission on its stance on alleged corruption. 

The party said its decision to recommend that Magashule step aside was based on the National Executive Council Resolution of August 2020. 

It stated that cadres of the ANC who are formally charged for corruption must immediately step aside from all leadership positions in the ruling party pending the finalisation of their cases. 

Magashule faces multiple charges of corruption, fraud, and money laundering linked to his time as Free State Premier.  

However, Magashule has repeatedly said that he will not step asideadding that he will only do so if instructed directly by ANC branch members at a Special Conference.  

Reporter Samkele Maseko shares more on the ANC’s Integrity Commission’s ruling on Ace Magashule to step aside: