ANC split over ‘step aside resolution’ as Ramaphosa asserts corruption must end

Over three days, the highest decision-making body of the ANC, the NEC has deliberated over a resolution to have members facing corruption accusations step aside from their roles. President Cyril Ramaphosa has been unequivocal in his reinforcing of the resolution which was first introduced at the party’s 54th conference. On the chopping block, should the resolution be formally effected, is Secretary-General Ace Magashule who was arrested over a R255m asbestos scandal in November. Former Minister of Security Bongani Bongo faces charges of fraud related to a housing scandal in Mpumalanga while ex-eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is also set to face the music over a R308m waste management contract. – Bernice Maune

President Cyril Ramaphosa has offered five legal opinions on how the party can handle corrupt members by forcing them to step aside from their roles.

The ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has met since Sunday via a virtual meeting to discuss pertinent matters. Top of the agenda has been corruption and ANC members who have fraudulently done business with the state. Ramaphosa presented his political overview on Monday, stating unity can no longer be used as an excuse to turn a blind eye to those who “undermine and denigrate the revolutionary ideals of our struggle”.

“There have been occasions when, as this NEC, we have risen to the challenge and provided leadership on critical issues, most notably the response to the pandemic and the economic recovery. However, there are areas where we will admit that we have fallen short, including our decisions on corruption, combating factionalism, and restoring our credibility,” said Ramaphosa.

“Unity is not about closing ranks; it is not about accommodating or condoning corruption, wrongdoing or ill-discipline.”

The challenge faced by the ANC was to adopt a coherent approach in addressing corruption and serious crimes, the ANC leader said. Referring to the 54th conference, Ramaphosa said the instruction to implement the ‘step aside’ resolution could not be ignored.

“In the documentation for this NEC, we are provided with no fewer than five legal opinions on the implementation of our so-called ‘stepping aside’ resolution. I am certain that there are none among us who would have thought that the deliberations of the national executive committee would have come to this.”

The party members were also reminded that their revolutionary status was at stake and they needed to exercise their political consciousness to benefit all the people of South Africa.

“It is this consciousness that calls on us to be selfless, to make sacrifices in the service of our people, to always act with integrity and honesty, and to place the interests of the collective above narrow personal interests. It is this consciousness that causes us to abide by the rules of our movement and to respect the decisions of its structures. As leaders, it should be what drives our actions and informs our decisions.”

Dr Zamani Paul, premier of the Northern Cape was one of the first to speak out about the legal opinions on Twitter. “Just finished reading five conflicting legal opinions on implications of these resolutions on paragraphs 3&4 of the last ANC conference. I’m embarrassed and wonder what the legal brief was as all these overloaded legal opinions are not even worth the paper they are written on,” he said.

Inside sources have told Eyewitness News that no one will be left if the resolution is adopted, even the President.

“Those resolutions say the ANC must deal decisively with corrupt activities, including those who use money to influence outcomes of conferences. Even those sealed documents…if they are so innocent, why is he hiding them? We want to know who benefits from assisting in that campaign,” said an ANC member.

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