The ANC constitution is silent on the step aside resolution.
While he may be facing a damning ANC integrity committee verdict recommending he step aside for bringing the governing party into disrepute, due to facing a mountain of criminal charges, secretary-general Ace Magashule seemingly has an ace up his sleeve.
The ANC constitution is silent on the step aside resolution, recently adopted by the party’s national executive committee (NEC).
According to University of South Africa political science professor Dirk Kotze, the basis for Magashule’s public posture – reiterating that he would remain in his elected position until formally compelled by ANC constitutional structures to step aside from political responsibilities – was in line with the party constitution, which counted in his favour.
Kotze said, while there had been evidence of “a political lull and an uneasy festive season truce” within the ranks of the party, the ANC faced “a big headache”.
“Strictly speaking, they don’t have any power to act against Magashule in terms of the ANC constitution [which] has no provision for the party to act against him – hence they are looking for legal opinion, leading differing on interpretation.
“This is no absolute clear-cut matter. Rule 25 of the ANC constitution deals with organisational discipline, which is very comprehensive, but is silent in compelling ANC members to step aside.”
Kotze said ANC leaders would find it “difficult to bring changes … at this late stage”.
“One of the shortcomings in the ANC constitution is that there is no provision for procedures, now placing the matter squarely
in the hands of delegates at the national conference.
“Further complicating matters is that what applies to Magashule, also applies to everyone, including Ramaphosa.
“To bring changes to the constitution now is going to be very difficult. And there is bound to be too much infighting to bring such an amendment or addition to the ANC constitution.
“If we go back a few years, during the Jacob Zuma presidency, ANC leaders tried everything, but could not get rid of him, despite
him facing several court judgments. He only resigned when one of the many motions of no confidence on him was about to be passed in parliament.”
Kotze said the Christmas period, normally quiet in the ANC, signalled “a lull before the storm”.
“Between now, the January 8 Statement and the first NEC meeting next year, you are going to see a busy period.
“During the NEC legotla, we can expect fierce discussions on the step aside matter – laying bare the various factions.”
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