African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) Pravin Gordhan has joined calls for the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule to step down. The call will likely rattle a few cages within the ruling party, particularly as claims of infighting amongst different factions, wage on.
“I think that on the one hand, you can appeal to an individual’s conscience, wherever it might be, to do the right thing. On the other hand, resolutions of the organisation need to be implemented in some way as well. So it’s absolutely clear…let’s see what happens in the next few weeks,” Gordhan said in an interview with eNCA.
Gordhan’s comments come at a not so good time for Magashule. Not only did he briefly appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court alongside several others over a dodgy R255 million contract, he was also a prominent feature during the ANC NEC meeting the previous weekend.
Several ANC NEC members called for Magashule to step back from his duties at Luthuli House, in the wake of the allegations. As if that wasn’t enough, it seems the outcomes of the ANC NEC meeting could see Magashule actually being forced to surrender.
The ANC NEC adopted new guidelines related to members and leaders facing criminal charges. These guidelines call for such members to immediately step aside and seem to apply for Ace Magashule.
“The NEC meeting adopted guidelines on implementing resolutions of the 54th conference on members and leaders in conflict with the law or accused of serious misdemeanours. This is fundamental to the renewal of our movement and to strengthening the integrity and credibility of the ANC,” ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
In light of the asbestos matter, of which Magashule is a co-accused, he may soon be forced to step down. Following the ANC NEC meeting, Ramaphosa said the National Working Committee (NWC) woule be finalising the party’s guidelines within the next month, which will be after consultations with provinces.
Ramaphosa added that the implementation of these guidelines forms a critical part of the ANC’s programme of renewal and unity of purpose. Pravin Gordhan has reportedly been under siege from a faction of the ANC, which is aligned to former president Jacob Zuma. Magashule himself has maintained that he has done nothing wrong and would not step aside.