Political analyst Dirk Kotze says Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s temporary suspension from the African National Congress (ANC) will strengthen President Cyril Ramaphosa’s position in the party.

The ANC has officially temporarily suspended the membership of Magashule until the finalisation of his court case. Magashule’s suspension comes as he refused,  several times, to step aside as the Secretary-General of the party. Magashule is facing fraud, corruption, and money laundering charges related to a failed multi-million-rand asbestos project when he was Free State premier.

According to the party’s constitution, “Where a public representative, office bearer or member has been indicted to appear in the court of law, the Secretary-General or Provincial Secretary, acting on the authority of the NEC, the NWC, the PEC or the PWC, if satisfied that the temporary suspension of such a public representative office bearer or member would be in the best interest of the organisation, may suspend such public representative, elected office bearer or member and impose terms and conditions to regulate their participation and conduct during the suspension.”

Kotze says the timing of the suspension is also significant.

“I think there is some timing involved in this, it is before the National General Council (NGC), I think he (President Ramaphosa) wanted to make sure that there is sufficient time between this decision and the NGC so that they cannot mobilise support of resistance at the NGC meeting.”

During the suspension, Magashule is not allowed to carry out the duties and responsibilities of his office as Secretary-General, to represent the party publicly or in any other forum, make pronouncements on matters relating to the organisation,  and engage in the mobilisation of ANC structures.

SABC politics reporter Samkele Maseko unpacks the latest developments in the ANC: 

Magashule will still receive his remuneration and benefits during his suspension.  He will have to update the office of the Secretary-General on a monthly basis on the progress of his case.  The decision to temporarily suspend him will be reviewed every six months by the National Executive Council or at his request.

Milestone for the ANC

Head of the ANC’s Veteran’s League Snuki Zikalala says Magashule’s suspension is indeed a milestone for the ruling party.

Zikalala says, “The issue of step aside was decided in August last year and those who found wanting and facing criminal charges must step aside and of course we have been kicking the can down the road. The pivotal moment came out in February when the NEC decided to give those who are criminally charged 30-days to step aside voluntarily,”

Zikalala says those who do not step aside voluntarily, the ANC NEC has full powers to suspend them: