As the conflict within the African National Congress (ANC) intensifies, the president of the party and the country, Cyril Ramaphosa, has retorted with disdain at the attempt by the embattled Secretary-General Ace Magashule to suspend him from his position in the party. Ramaphosa was sent a letter by Magashule which informed him of his suspension. In his response, Ramaphosa is said to have described the letter as being “null and void”.
Magashule, who is facing charges of corruption and did not step aside within the thirty days grace period that was given by the party, was due to be suspended as the constitution of the party took its course. The party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, is said to have written the letter to her boss informing him of the suspension. The Deputy SG sent the letter to Magashule on Wednesday after the National Working Committee upheld the decision of the National Executive Committee, which had ruled that any member of the party who was an office bearer and who was facing charges, had to step aside or face the full arm of the party’s constitution.
Following his suspension, Magashule decided to suspended President Ramaphosa over allegations of vote-buying during his 2017 campaign to become the president of the ANC. Magashule’s move was generally considered invalid. It however emerged that the letter that was sent to Ramaphosa was written on the 3rd of May which, according to a Magashule loyalist, Carl Niehaus, made the suspension valid as, at the time, Magashule was still the Secretary-General of the party. On the other hand, the party’s National Chairman and former Secretary-General of the party put his weight behind the president saying: “Always remember one basic thing to make your judgment. No individual has the power to suspend anyone in an organisation. Structures take those tasks.”
In his response and speaking in a routine meeting with the ANC’s parliamentary caucus committee, Ramaphosa describes the suspension letter as having no standing. Said a source who attended the caucus meeting, “He said he received the letter and, in his view, it has no standing.”