The cash-strapped ANC has 24 hours to respond to its suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule’s claims that factional battles within the ANC prompted his suspension and not the criminal charges against him.
Magashule, in his application in the Gauteng High Court to set aside his suspension, said his removal from office was aimed at ensuring that the CR-17 faction which supports President Cyril Ramaphosa re-elects him as party president during its next elective conference in December 2022.
His claims are contained in his 53-page sworn affidavit submitted in the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday asking to set aside his suspension. He also took a swipe at the ANC’s Integrity Commission for allegedly failing to provide reasons for his stepping aside.
On Monday, however, the ANC only announced the appointment of top lawyers in the country who will be defending it when the matter appears for a hearing on June 1.
After the ANC’s announcement, social media was abuzz with several people asking who will pay for these lawyers especially after the party failed to pay staff salaries on time.
The appointment also surprised many as information was leaked that the party was planning to lay off 50% of staff due to lack of funds.
Last week, ANC acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte admitted that their financial troubles were due to the sudden withdrawal of their funders. Duarte indicated that might be due to the promulgation of the new funding model for political parties in the country.
“Some of these funders were also funding opposition parties. So they might fear that they would be exposed in the future,” Duarte said.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe was not available to comment on who will be responsible for the legal fees for the lawyers advocates Wim Trengrove SC, Ngwako Maenetje SC, Fana Nalane SC and Buhle Lekokotla.
Magashule, however, is expecting his party to file its answering affidavits to allow the court to hear the application. He has asked the court to either appoint a Judge or full bench to hear his application.
In his application, Magashule laid bare what he believed was the alleged clandestine motive to place him on suspension. According to Magashule’s papers, his criminal charge in the Bloemfontein High Court, has nothing to do with his suspension, but factional ANC battles.
All the details are included in his affidavit, in support of his application, saying he was allegedly punished for having supported Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for the ANC presidency at the ANC elective conference in December 2017 while Ramaphosa had his own faction known as CR17.
“The divisions between rival factions were also defined by the deep-seated ideological divisions about the political direction which the ANC needs to take in order to resolve one of the most pressing problems facing present-day South Africa.
“Simplistically put, the CR-17 ticket factors a reformist and tentative approach to transformation, with too much emphasis on pacifying investors, ratings agencies and local big business, which remains white- dominated.
“On the other hand, the other grouping believes that a much more fast-paced and radical economic transformation programme, which is more focused on the needs of the poorest and most marginalised section of the population and not the richest of them,” Magashule said.
Magashule, in his application, also included transcripts of the audio clips which were leaked to the media to justify his claim that his suspension was based on factional battles within the ANC.
“I give all these details in order to support my fervent and steadfast belief that factionalism and not the face of some newfound anti-corruption clean-up is what lies behind my unlawful, radical and premature suspension.
“It would be demonstrably naive in the extreme to accept the opposite view, which is continued by some to mask their real intentions. At the core of the issue, is the malaise of factionalism. There are no angels and devils, as the issues are carefully choreographed in the mainstream media, which supports the dominant Cr-17 faction,” Magashule said.
He further said: “The real motive behind my being purged is the desire to remove me, by hook or by crook, from the all-powerful position of SG, so that the road to the re-election of President Cyril Ramaphosa and his faction in the next national conference is made easier.”
Magashule has also included a legal opinion from former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa – obtained in October last year – which says a person should not be forced to step aside without having undergone a disciplinary process.
The legal opinion and transcripts of the ANC’s national executive committee meeting on May 8- 10 forms part of Magashule’s court records.