Embattled ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has shown he is willing to take the party down with him.
Served with a letter of suspension earlier in the day by his deputy Jessie Duarte, Magashule issued a strange “media statement” last night, in which he said his suspension was "unconstitutional" and that it would be put “on hold” as he was appealing it.
But more bizarrely, Magashule said that actually, he was suspending President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Magashule said that because he was appealing, “my suspension is thus wholly suspended, until my appeal has been heard”.
He also said the suspensions of other leaders charged with crimes was also suspended.
It illustrates the extent to which Magashule is willing to plunge the ANC into crisis to remain in his post.
Ace Magashule said he would no longer remain silent as state resources were being used against him and his allies, celebgossip.co.za has learnt. He however did not name anyone by name.
A defiant Magashule said that he remained in office because he had appealed the party’s decision to suspend him.
He claimed, instead, that he had suspended Cyril Ramphosa as he was facing allegations of vote-buying during his CR17 campaign to become party president. This was despite him not having a mandate from the national executive committee, which was the only body between conferences that could suspend a party president.
Magashule called the news crew on Wednesday night to clear confusion over suspension letters addressed to Ramaphosa detailing his suspension.
LISTEN: Ace Magashule: I'm still the ANC SG
Magashule argued that he remained in office because he was appealing the decision to suspend him and claimed that he had the backing of the NEC to suspend Ramaphosa.
“As the ANC, we have suspended Cyril,” Magashule said.
He confirmed that they were delivered on Monday to the president and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
Magashule said that Ramaphosa must step aside over allegations of vote-buying during his CR17 campaign.
“Those who have allegations, those who are charged or suspected to have been involved [in corruption].”
He has accused his comrades of selectively enforcing Nasrec resolutions; he said that the 2017 conference decided that those facing criminal charges and those facing serious allegations must step aside.
“There is no conscience there. What happened to the conscience of everybody on the resolution of the ANC’s national highest decision-making body?” Magashule asked.
He said that he would no longer remain silent as state organs were being used against him and his allies.
“This is not the last case; we know what they are cooking. We know what they are cooking against Supra, we know what they are cooking against Lindiwe Sisulu, we know what they are cooking against some of the ministers.”
Magashule was never expected to quietly stand on the sidelines of Luthuli House. But his grip on the party will again be tested when the ANC’s national executive committee meets this weekend.
His opponents said that it was a battleground that he had already lost.
Meanwhile, the ANC has confirmed the authenticity of the letters and has appealed to Magashule to respect the party’s decisions.