Suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has hit back, announcing that he has suspended party president Cyril Ramaphosa and that he would appeal his “fatally flawed” suspension.
A defiant Magashule, who was this week suspended for failing to step aside, described his suspension from party activities as “fatally flawed”, while questioning his deputy’s authority to issue him with such a letter.
As part of his suspension, Magashule has been barred from addressing public rallies or handling party-related matters while serving his suspension and facing criminal charges in a court of law.
He was served with a letter on Wednesday following a national working committee (NWC) meeting on Monday.
A defiant Magashule, who issued his statement in his capacity as the secretary general of the ANC through a Gmail account, said deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte had no authority to issue him with a suspension letter.
He also said he was using his powers as secretary general to “summarily” suspend Ramaphosa “in full compliance with the relevant conference resolutions”, he said.
“This is done in terms of Resolution 8.2 of the 54th National Conference, which states that, "… Every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the Integrity Committee immediately, or faces DC processes….,and Resolution 8.3 that further provides for the suspension of, "… people who fail to give an acceptable explanation, or to voluntarily step down while they face disciplinary, investigative or prosecutorial procedures".
“I call on all members of the ANC to act with revolutionary dignity and respect, and to uphold the ANC Constitution. None of us should bow to illegal and unconstitutional actions. In doing so we must protect the unity of the ANC as leader of society,” said Magashule.
In challenging his suspension letter, which was signed by Duarte, he said: “It is evident that the deputy secretary general does not have the authority to issue such letters. Thus the letter is fatally flawed, and in fact unconstitutional.
“Furthermore these letters are based on a selective and factional interpretation of the relevant resolution.
“I herewith announce that I am immediately, and formally, appealing this unconstitutional suspension. In terms of the ANC Constitution, my suspension is thus wholly suspended, until my appeal has been heard, and it's final outcome announced.
“For the sake of fairness and justice to all the affected comrades, who have received similarly unconstitutional letters, I as Secretary General – who is duty bound to uphold the ANC Constitution and all administrative processes – urge them to also follow the appropriate internal appeal processes,” said Magashule.
Other party members who have been suspended include former North West Premier Super Mahumapelo, who is understood to be a close ally of Magashule.
Meanwhile, Duarte refused to comment when contacted on Wednesday night, diverting queries to ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.
Mabe said he had yet to speak to Magashule after the statement emerged.
“I have been trying to verify the authenticity of the letter because one does not know where it comes from,” he said, explaining that the ANC’s position on the matter remained as per the resolutions of the NWC.
When asked if Magashule’s letter had been communicated to the ANC, he said: “I am not aware, but I have seen the letter, but I cannot speak to the authenticity of the letter””