ANC top six want 'step aside' regulations discussed directly by NEC

The discussions will have a bearing on whether party secretary-general Ace Magashule should step aside, or not, pending the outcome of his case in court. File photo.
The discussions will have a bearing on whether party secretary-general Ace Magashule should step aside, or not, pending the outcome of his case in court. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

The ANC top six have decided that the newly formulated “step aside” regulations should go straight to the national executive committee (NEC) and not be discussed by the national working committee (NWC) which has no constitutional powers.

The regulations were meant to be tabled at the NWC — which sat on Friday — before heading to the NEC but SowetanLIVE sister publication TimesLIVE understands that when the meeting got to the item on the agenda, the ANC top six refused to discuss it saying it should go directly to the NEC.

Sources privy to discussions said though the regulations were on the agenda, it was decided, after much pushback, to send the discussions directly to the NEC sitting on Saturday and Sunday.

The step aside regulations were formulated by a team consisting of former president Kgalema Motlanthe, former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and the current ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile.

The team was tasked with the job by the ANC top six after the party’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, refused to step aside from his position after a recommendation by the integrity commission.

Magashule is out on bail of R200,000 over charges of corruption and fraud related to the Free State asbestos eradication tender where he is accused alongside businessman Edwin Sodi.

At least three sources told TimesLIVE that the top six officials did not want the regulations to be discussed at the NWC, which precedes the NEC.

“Yes it was moved to be discussed tomorrow. We have not seen the guidelines as they refused that they be discussed at the NWC,” one insider said.

Another one said it was decided that the discussion around the future of Magashule and others who face criminal charges or allegations of wrongdoing “was moved to go straight to the NEC”.

It was not clear by the time of publishing what the guidelines, which have been described as “historic”, state.

Indications are however that it is going to be the subject of a long battle of ideas at the NEC meeting on Saturday whichever way they go.

They are supposed to guide the party on how, when and based on what, those facing criminal charges or accusations of wrongdoing should step aside from their positions.

They will either determine that what Magashule is facing in court warrants him to step aside until his court matter is concluded or that the party should await the outcome of the case.

Either way, the meeting is expected to be heated and emotionally charged.

Magashule is expected to make his second appearance at the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court next Friday.

“Well we have to be equal to the task,” an insider said when asked about the expected heated discussions on Saturday.

TimesLIVE

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