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Days numbered for graft-accused ruling ANC official – Reports

South Africa's ruling African National Congress secretary general Ace Magashule is facing imminent suspension from the party following his failure…

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress secretary general Ace Magashule is facing imminent suspension from the party following his failure to “voluntarily step-aside” from the position pending conclusion of a court case over corruption allegations against him, APA learnt on Tuesday.According to press reports here, five of the ruling party’s six-member National Executive Committee (NEC), are backing ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend Magashule from the party for his failure to voluntarily step aside as resolved during a March NEC meeting.

Magashule and 14 other people are facing corruption charges over the alleged irregular awarding of a US$17-million asbestos eradication tender when he was in charge of the Free State provincial government.

During a crucial meeting of the ANC’s top six in March, Magashule and several senior ANC officials involved in alleged corruption charges in various courts nationwide were given 30 days to “voluntarily step aside” till the courts had disposed of their cases.

Magashule, however, has failed to step aside, saying he would like to consult former ANC leaders on the way forward in his response to the party’s order.

The consultations journey has taken the secretary general to former presidents of the country, including Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki, to seek advice from them on the step aside resolution.

But analysts who have studied Magashule’s attitude and his few public utterances on the issue, have expressed skepticism over his likelihood to voluntarily leave his party job, saying that the consultations were merely used to buy him time as he prepares to fight his own party.

Political analyst Sethulego Matebesi said Magashule was not likely to voluntarily step aside from his position, adding that the so-called consultations he undertook were delaying tactics because he was determined to fight back against the ANC order.

“It will be highly unlikely for Magashule to step down. This whole notion of him saying he will still consult is only just but a footnote type of action.

“I think he’s deeply reflecting on what type of fight action he must take, actually. I can’t see Magashule to just voluntarily step down,” Matebesi said.

But Ramaphosa has now won the “unequivocal” backing of the rest of the ANC top six for Magashule to “immediately” step aside pending the outcome of his fraud and corruption cases, the reports said.

Observers noted that during Ramaphosa’s appearance before the corruption inquiries of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture last week, Magashule did not accompany his ANC boss to the hearings – the only NEC member not to do so.

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