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S/Africa: Suspended official’s defiance puzzles senior ANC leader

A puzzled African National Congress deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has said that “it is unheard of” for senior party…

A puzzled African National Congress deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has said that “it is unheard of” for senior party officials “to not want to protect the ANC” and accept its disciplinary measures.Duarte said this Wednesday in reaction to suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s refusal to step aside following his being charged with corruption in a court of law last year, leading the party to demand all its members who faced similar charges to step aside till the hearings were over.

In fact, on the night of his suspension, Magashule wrote his own “suspension” letter to ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, asking him to step aside for six months from his party position.

Ramaphosa had described Magashule’s conduct as “both shocking and unprecedented.”

In agreement with Ramaphosa, Duarte said Magashule’s conduct was not in line with the party’s rules and regulations, adding that “it is unheard of for a senior official to not want to protect the ANC and accept its discipline.”

She said the ANC treated the implementation of the party’s step-aside rule with sensitivity and was conducting all the necessary investigations to ensure it was carried out fairly. 

“The ANC’s Constitution’s Rule 25(70), under which the secretary-general is temporarily suspended, does not have an appeal component,” Duarte told reporters.

She was briefing the press on the outcomes of the party’s National Working Committee meeting, which advised ANC structures not to rely on media reports but to conduct their own investigations into the alleged misconduct of its leaders.

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