South Africa: Suspended Ruling Party Secretary General to Challenge Decision in Court - Reports

Ace Magashule in 2017.
14 May 2021

Suspended African National Congress secretary-general Ace Magashule is taking the ANC to court over his suspension, South African media are reporting.

News24's Carien du Plessis reports that Magashule is arguing that Rule 25.70 in the ruling party's constitution is unconstitutional.

"News24 has reliably learnt the papers were served on Thursday [May 13, 2021] and are set to be lodged in court on Friday on a semi-urgent basis, and that advocate Dali Mpofu is acting on his behalf," News24 says.

The new move challenges a party decision to suspend members facing serious criminal charges and who refuse to step down. The ANC resolved at its 2017 national conference that any representative (elected or employed) who was criminally charged should step aside. Magasghule faces several corruption-related charges in connection with contracts the Free State provincial government awarded during his time as premier.

Samkele Maseko, politics reporter for state broadcaster SABC, said on Twitter on Friday May 14: "[JUST-IN] Legally and politically embattled @MYANC Secretary General has served Luthuli House with court papers challenging the constitutionality of the "step-aside" #ANC 2017 Conference resolution and #ANCNEC that resulted in his suspension. #sabcnews"

He followed up with a tweet that says: "#AceMagashule wants the High Court to rule that the #ANC "Step-Aside" resolution is unconstitutional and that his suspension as Sec General be lifted.Magashule also wants the 'suspension' of President Ramaphosa to be enforced until it's declared unlawful by the court.#sabcnews"

The SABC is reporting that Magashule has until the end of business on Friday May 14 to publicly apologise to ANC structures for sending a letter of suspension to party President Cyril Ramaphosa or face further action. Earlier this week, the ANC said it would further discipline Magashule if he did not apologise for trying to retaliate against Ramaphosa for his suspension.

After Magashule's suspension was announced, a letter written by Magashule to Ramaphosa was leaked to the media. In the letter, Magashule informed Ramaphosa of his decision to suspend him.

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