Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Has the ANC NEC’s decision silenced even Niehaus?

Niehaus was previously vocal on the stance the MKMVA is ‘100% behind’ Ace Magashule, slating requests for the secretary-general to step aside as undemocratic.

The ANC’s call for party members to rally around the decisions taken by the national executive committee (NEC) appears to have silenced even the most vocal of secretary-general Ace Magashule’s supporters.

On Monday evening the NEC confirmed that Magashule and other ANC members facing criminal charges have 30 days to step aside or face being suspended from the governing party.

Since the announcement that Magashule must step aside, Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus has gone completely silent. This is in contrast to his previous stance that only ANC branches can remove Magashule from office.

Several calls by The Citizen to Niehaus on Tuesday morning went unanswered despite him being readily available previously to take interviews.

Similarly, many ANC officials who have been outspoken in their support for Magashule have avoided posting comments on social media since ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the NEC on Monday night.

Party line

Ramaphosa in his closing address to the NEC called on party members to desist from engaging “in any acts of indiscipline, including through mobilisation or public statements that undermine implementation of the conference resolution”.

ALSO READ: Suspending Magashule could have a domino effect

Ramaphosa also said the NEC decided that “no ANC member should associate themselves with or be involved in” the so-called radical economic transformation (RET) faction that Niehaus and Magashule have been accused of leading.

“Furthermore, the NEC will not allow any member of the ANC staff to use the resources and premises of the ANC to hold meetings of the RET or any other faction. In terms of Rule 25.9 of the ANC constitution on ‘institution of disciplinary proceedings’, the NEC directs the presenter of the ANC to investigate these matters and, if deemed necessary, immediately formulate charges for the attention of the national disciplinary committee,” Ramaphosa said.

Taking to Twitter on Monday morning, Niehaus reiterated Magashule’s long-standing view that only the branches of the ANC can remove him from office.

He tweeted: “The secretary-general of the ANC was democratically elected by delegates from the ANC branches at the 54th national conference. Only the branches of the ANC can decide the future of our secretary-general at a properly constituted elective conference.”

ALSO READ: Nasrec 2017 conference haunting ANC amid ‘step aside’ debate

Niehaus said the MKMVA was “100% behind” Magashule and that giving him 30 days to step aside from his position is wrong and undemocratic.

Magashule faces corruption charges for his alleged role in the multimillion-rand asbestos audit contract scandal in the Free State. He is out on R200,000 bail and faces 21 charges of fraud and corruption.

At the same time, Ramaphosa said Magashule indicated to the NEC he would seek the counsel of former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma on the step-aside issue.

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