Thabo Mbeki’s impromptu appearance at the ANC NEC on Sunday, caused an explosion in the slow-burning events of the meeting this weekend. The former SA President logged onto the virtual meeting to discuss the possibility of his party forcing corruption-accused members to step aside – something that has become a factional fault-line.
Ace Magashule has been at the centre of these discussions. He’s facing criminal charges for his role in a dodgy asbestos tender when the ANC Secretary-General served as Free State Premier. This has been the first stern test of Cyril Ramaphosa’s promise to tackle corruption head-on, by making those suspected of grift ‘step aside’.
Magashule has however refused to vacate his responsibilities, even on a temporary basis. There’s been a backlash towards the suggestion that those suspected of involvement in criminal activity must do ‘the honourable thing’. Thabo Mbeki’s appearance has caused a huge stir, as the ex-head of state was criticised for ‘picking a side’.
The ANC have defended their one-time leader. An official statement from the party addressed some ‘inaccuracies’ linked to the reasons why Thabo Mbeki decided to register his interest in the past 24 hours.
Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul is however not convinced by the ANC’s resolutions. He condemned the legal recommendations which were used to establish the ‘step aside’ rule, questioning the credibility of the opinions that were offered. On top of the Thabo Mbeki controversy, Saul’s comments have added more fuel to the fire.
“Just finished reading five conflicting legal opinions on implications of these resolutions on paragraphs 3 and 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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/XHfCKE8yP5— Dr. Zamani Saul (@zsaul1) December 6, 2020