President Cyril Ramaphosa should have taken the ANC to court if he disagreed with the party’s suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule’s controversial letter of suspension.
That’s according to advocate Dali Mpofu, who told the Johannesburg high court on Friday because Ramaphosa did not approach the courts to set aside the “suspension”, he remains suspended as ANC president.
“If Mr Ramaphosa thought that his suspension was not valid, he should have taken steps just like Mr Magashule has done and gone to court to say that the suspension must be declared to be unlawful.
“He does not do so even when we raise this matter so sharply in the founding affidavit, they don’t do so,” Mpofu argued.
Mpofu is representing Magashule in his bid to overturn his suspension from the ANC as well as to confirm his failed attempt to suspend Ramaphosa.
On 5 May 2021, Magashule received a letter from deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, suspending him after he failed to comply with the party’s instruction that all ANC members facing criminal charges must voluntarily step aside.
The ANC secretary-general was suspended due to his fraud and corruption trial in the Free State.
On the same day as his suspension, Magashule sent Ramaphosa a letter suspending him over the sealed financial records relating to Ramaphosa’s 2017 campaign for the ANC presidency, popularly known as CR17.
Magashule claimed he was acting on the instruction of the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) that met on 3 May, prior to his suspension.
However, Ramaphosa maintains Magashule’s version of events of the NWC meeting was “completely false” as he was also part of the gathering. Ramaphosa said he believed Magashule was therefore acting out of “vengeful spite”.
The ANC also dismissed Magashule’s suspension letter, saying it was not valid because he had no authority or mandate from any of its structures to issue the letter.
Ramaphosa would lose in court
Mpofu argued that Ramaphosa was given an opportunity by Magashule to lodge a counter-application challenging the suspension letter, but he did not.
“So, that letter is valid, that suspension is valid. The man is suspended as we speak,” Mpofu said.
“So, what he must do, is do what every other person – again there are no separate laws just because you’re a president – he must go to court and set the suspension aside. That’s all.”
Mpofu said even if Ramaphosa changed his mind and challenged the suspension, he would lose in court.
“He will lose anyway. Why? because the suspension is valid and it was properly authorised,” he said.