The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has dismissed with costs, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s application to have his suspension by the party overturned.
Magashule was temporarily ousted after refusing to step aside, in line with the ANC’s contentious step-aside policy.
He had approached the court to have the policy declared unconstitutional. Handing down judgement on Friday, 9 July 2021, Judge Jody Kollapen ruled against him.
Kollapen found that Magashule was granted ample opportunity to state his case, contrary to the argument put forward by his legal counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu.
Ace vs ANC: High Court on the step-aside resolution
Judge Jody Kollapen also says they do not agree with Ace Magashule’s contention that the NEC altered the original step aside resolution taken at Nasrec to suit his suspension.
“From reading the national conference resolutions, it is apparent that they were formulated as broad and gentle principles. They do not appear to have been intended to constitute a rule. What is clear from those principles is that they reflect the concern with the scourge of corruption within the ANC and that the ANC had taken an unequivocal stance in dealing with corruption and eradicating it”
Judge Jody Kollapen
To take things back, this is how it started: the ANC had suspended Magashule after he refused to step aside, in abidance to its step-aside policy, which directs members who face serious charges before the courts, to temporarily vacate office.
Magashule faces fraud, money laundering and corruption charges in connection to a R255 million asbestos tender in the Free State, which was awarded when he was premier, in 2014 – this means he was one of members, to which the policy applied.
Things then got complicated when he issued a letter of suspension to Ramaphosa (despite he being suspended himself). He contended that he was still the SG and would continue carrying out his duties, however the ANC dismissed this and reaffirmed his suspension, subsequently ordering him to apologise.