As was widely anticipated, the African National Congress meeting of the NEC was full of drama as the embattled Secretary-General of the party was disconnected from the virtual meeting on Saturday morning.
According to Ace Magashule, he is the one who had convened the meeting in his capacity as the Secretary-General of the party. He says, the meeting started promptly at 10 am and 10 minutes into the meeting, he was disconnected from the virtual meeting that had been meant to be physical. “I am the one who convened that meeting, I called the meeting and have been making plans until yesterday. The meeting started at 10 am and at 10:10 they noticed I was part of the Zoom meeting and pressed the button. I am not part of the meeting anymore, that is all I can say,” said Magashule.
Ace Magashule who has been charged with corruption stemming from when he was Premier of the Free State, has fallen victim to the latest policy of the ANC, which has recently been dubbed the step aside policy, which states that any member of the party in a leadership position who has been charged with corruption must step aside. The policy further states that if the member fails to step aside, the party would have no choice but to suspend them. Magashule, despite being given thirty days in which to make the decision to step aside, did not do so. This then resulted in the National Working Committee of the ANC recommending his suspension. The suspension letter was then served by his deputy, Jessie Duarte during the week. However, following his suspension, it emerged that Magashule had also written to the President of his party and the country, Cyril Ramaphosa informing him of his suspension. Ramaphosa retorted that the letter had no standing. Magashule still insists that his suspension of Ramaphosa still stands.
Sources close to the meeting of the NEC say that after Magashule was kicked out of the meeting, the issue of his suspension, as well as that of ANC MP Bongani Bongo, lasted for over an hour, with supporters sympathetic to the two saying that they should retain their positions. Bongo, who was also meant to be in the NEC meeting, is also facing corruption charges. “I am still the secretary-general of the ANC. I will do my work. I will hold meetings. I will campaign,” said the SG.