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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

D-Day for Ace Magashule’s tenure as ANC secretary

The integrity committee has already recommended that Magashule should step aside to respect a conference decision that all members facing malfeasance should do so.

It’s D-Day soon for ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule as the party’s national executive committee (NEC) convenes to tell him to pack his bags and leave Luthuli House.

This could happen as soon as this weekend, say insiders.

He is being ousted for two reasons: the corruption charges emanating from the Free State asbestos roofing scandal and the fact that his opponents in the NEC want him to pay for bringing the ANC into disrepute by speaking contrary to its official positions and harbouring radical economic transformation (RET) forces in his office.

ANC NEC member Derek Hanekom said: “As the NEC, we have to decide on the position of the SG. It could well be that we ask Ace to go.”

He said if Magashule stood by his earlier indication that he would respect any NEC decision, that would make things easy for them.

The ANC integrity committee has already recommended that Magashule should step aside to respect a Nasrec conference decision that all members facing malfeasance should do so.

The NEC is also expected to discuss the committee’s terms of reference, local government elections, tertiary education funding and Covid-19 response.

“I solely concur with what Joel Netshitenzhe said about the SG. I agree, but I know others among us do not agree,” Hanekom said.

Hanekom, Netshitenzhe and chair of the ANC subcommittee on economic transformation committee Enoch Godongwana this week launched an attack against Magashule and the RET faction, which is allegedly located in the secretary-general’s office at Luthuli House.

The “gloves off” attack by the Ramaphosa camp against the RET faction is the first time the ANC is publicly distancing itself from Magashule and the RET forces and publicly serving them with a “charge sheet”.

The RET group is believed to be the brainchild of uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) leader Kebby Maphatsoe and its MKMVA NEC member and spokesman, Carl Niehaus.

Although Niehaus this week denied the RET camp’s existence, he has on many occasions issued media statements on the group’s behalf and under its letterheads.

The letterhead featured a giant picture of former President Jacob Zuma whom it claimed to defend against “persecution” by judges and the Ramaphosa government.

Niehaus and the RET group, which also mobilised crowds to attend his trials, allegedly used Magashule’s office as a base.

Now, the Ramaphosa camp are sick and tired of what they see as the RET group and Magashule continuing to undermine the ANC while using the party headquarters as a base.

They believe the RET group was plotting against the Nasrec-elected NEC and attempting to establish a split party.

ANC activist social media group members demanded the ANC must take action against Magashule and RET agitators like Niehaus and Maphatsoe as soon as possible “to show that nobody is above the ANC”.

Magashule was accused of acting contrary to ANC policies which, as party secretary-general, he was supposed to be a custodian.

He told ANC MPs to vote against a Democratic Alliance motion to probe Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane before the NEC decided on the matter.

ANC national chair Gwede Mantashe had to fight fires and instruct the ANC caucus to support the Mkhwebane vote.

Magashule also said there was nothing wrong in Zuma defying the Zondo commission of inquiry when he refused to appear before it.

After his election as secretary-general at Nasrec, Magashule brought most of his allies into Luthuli House.

He immediately brought NEC member Pule Mabe in as party national spokesman to replace Khusela Diko, who moved to Ramaphosa’s Presidency in Pretoria.


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