Ace Magashule's court bid to have his suspension reversed dismissed

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter
Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

A full bench of the high court in Johannesburg has dismissed suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule's application to overturn his suspension.

Judges Jody Kollapen, Sharise Weiner and Edwin Molahleli  ruled on Friday morning that Magashule's argument had no merit.

They found that the ANC's constitution is consistent with that of the country and the decision to suspend Magashule was effected "in terms of the party's constitution and was precautionary in nature and complied with laws on precautionary suspensions".

Magashule had hauled the governing party, its president Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte to court to court in a bid to have his suspension overturned.

He also wanted the court to declare Ramaphosa's "suspension" valid.

The former Free State premier was suspended earlier this year after he failed to “step-aside” voluntarily in accordance with the party's step aside rule.

Magashule had unsuccessfully argued that it was in contrast to the prescripts of the constitution.

He had argued that the ANC's rule that enforces the step aside rule was violating his rights entrenched in the constitution to participate in political activities.

He has been defying the ANC which instructed him not to speak about party issues.

Kollapen who delivered the judgment said it was clear that Magashule was afforded a hearing before being suspended citing “ample opportunities at various levels” including being afforded an opportunity to give representations on why he must not be suspended.

The judgment cited Magashule’s appearance before the ANC’s integrity commission as well as in other meetings of the NEC and other meetings of the ANC leadership as opportunities granted to him to be heard ahead of his suspension.

“On this score we therefore conclude that the principles of natural justice… were observed prior to his suspension,” Kollapen said while delivering the judgment.

The full bench found that Magashule’s suspension was effected in terms of the ANC’s model which is best suited for its structures and its needs.

“It’s largely left to the ANC to best regulate its internal function, this is what all members of the ANC sign on to when they elect to be part of the ANC and this is the glue as it were, that binds them together,” said Kollapen.

“However in fairness to Mr Magashule, we have satisfied ourselves that his suspension was accorded with the principles of natural justice, in the event that we have erred in characterising his suspension as precautionary,” Kollapen said.

The judges unanimously found that “was no basis in his purported suspension of Mr Ramaphosa.”

“We pointed out that the mandatory requirements to effect such a suspension in terms of rule 25.70 amongst them that he be indicted were absent and that there could therefore be no basis to activate rule 25.70 as Mr Magashule purported in support of his decision to suspend Mr Ramaphosa.,” said Kollapen.

The application to strike out Magashule’s suspension was dismissed with costs including costs of three counsel dealing a huge blow to his attempts to return to Luthuli House

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