The African National Congress (ANC) has given its senior and provincial leaders facing criminal charges the choice to voluntarily step down from their positions within 30 days or face suspension by the party.
This was revealed by President Cyril Ramaphosa following the party’s extended national executive committee which concluded on Monday night.
Ramaphosa instructed the office of the secretary- general Ace Magashule – who is also facing criminal charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering – to communicate the party’s decision to all affected members of the ANC.
He said their decision was in line with resolutions taken at its 54th National Conference on ANC Credibility and Integrity, as well as decisions of NEC meetings on 28-30 August and 6-9 December 2020 on the implementation of these resolutions.
Allegations of corruption against party members including Ace Magashule, secretary-general and one of the six most powerful officials of the ANC, have deepened fault lines within the party that has ruled South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994.
Magashule has denied the corruption charges, which relate to a contract to audit homes with asbestos roofs when he was premier of the Free State province.
In December, the ANC’s Integrity Commission recommended that Magashule step aside from his position pending the outcome of the corruption case.
“The NEC called on all ANC members to rally around this decision and not to engage in any acts of indiscipline, including through mobilisation or public statements that undermine implementation of the conference resolutions,” Ramaphosa emphasised.