The looming court showdown between the ANC and its suspended secretary-general, Ace Magashule, won’t be going ahead today as initially hoped.
The two were expected to face off in the High Court in Johannesburg this morning but Magashule’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, on Monday confirmed to The Citizen that the hearing would not be proceeding today.
Hot on the heels of his suspension over the R255 million Free State asbestos removal saga last month, Magashule filed an urgent application in the high court for reinstatement.
He also wants the party’s stepaside rule – under which his suspension was effected – declared “invalid, unlawful, unconstitutional and null and/or void”.
In addition, he wants his own “suspension” of Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of the ANC – which the party has since rejected as being of no consequence – declared “valid and effective until lawfully nullified” and the subsequent order he was given to apologise for it, declared “unlawful and unenforceable”.
On the notice of motion, Magashule indicated he intended on bringing the application on 1 June.
It’s now not clear when the case will come before a judge, but Mabuza said they were working on getting it into a courtroom.
“We are busy trying to finalise a new date,” he said.
In his papers, Magashule took aim at what he describes as an “unlawfully and factionally reconfigured version” of the original step-aside resolution.
The ANC first adopted its step aside resolution – which requires members accused of wrongdoing to step down from public office willingly or face suspension – at the party’s 2017 national conference in Nasrec.
But, says Magashule, recent tweaks to the rules – which limit their application to those facing criminal charges – are only intended to sow division within the party.
As far as “suspending” Ramaphosa went, meanwhile, Magashule insisted this had been “a bona fide exercise of my responsibilities” and made it clear he wasn’t going to say sorry without a court order.
The ANC is opposing the case and in papers filed with the court last week, Magashule’s deputy, Jessie Duarte, argued he had “supported the implementation of the decisions, rules and resolutions that he now challenges”.
“He does so because they no longer suit his personal position,” she said.
Ramaphosa, too, has deposed to an affidavit in the case, in which he charges that Magashule’s attempt to suspend him was in fact nothing more than an act of retaliation.