Investigators get 60 days to probe Magashule's role in ATM formation

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule has been linked with the formation of African Content Movement.
ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule has been linked with the formation of African Content Movement.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo

South Africans will know in 60 days whether ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule or any other member of the ruling party were involved in the formation of break-away parties ahead of  general elections in May.

The ANC national working committee has tasked former president Kgalema Motlanthe and party veteran Frene Ginwala with investigating whether some party members were involved in forming break-away parties to weaken its stronghold ahead of elections.

Media reports have linked Magashule with the formation of the African Transformation Movement (ATM) along with former president Jacob Zuma.

The Sunday Times reported that South African Council of Messianic Churches general-secretary Buyisile Ngqulwana had alleged, in an affidavit, that Magashule and Zuma played a critical role in the formation of ATM.

The terms of reference that will guide the team probing these allegations have been released and the team has 60 days to investigate and report back.

“The terms of reference are to investigate, inquire into and determine the veracity of the allegations that members of the ANC were involved in the formation of and/or mobilised support for some of the smaller political parties, purportedly to reduce ANC’s majority in the 2019 general elections,” a document from the ANC read.

The report will be sent to the office of Magashule who, according to reports, will also be investigated. Asked whether this will not cause a conflict of interest, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said there was nothing indicating that Magashule would be investigated.

“Wide reports of media do not mean truth,” said Mabe. “We never said the SG [Magashule] is being investigated.”

The independent team, as the investigative team has been termed, has the powers of calling any member to appear before it.

They have also been empowered to “make findings against any member of the ANC after evaluating all the evidence and if prima facie evidence exists, including recommendations that disciplinary action be instituted against such member for contravening rule 25 of the ANC constitution pertaining to misconduct”.

The team will determine its own procedures and will not be dictated to by the ruling party, and the admissibility of any evidence placed before the investigating team will not follow that of a court of law.

Those who will be interviewed are not allowed to have legal representation during this process.

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