We’ve been telling you about this since last year and it’s FINALLY HAPPENED. The ANC has suspended its secretary-general (SG) Ace Magashule after an exhausting back and forth.

Some background: Magashule had until 30 April to step aside from his role, but predictably did not, instead creating endless political drama you’ve no doubt heard about. 

This comes after the ANC said at its 2017 conference that members charged with corruption should step aside while matters are investigated. This isn’t a new rule, but was revived in an attempt to clean up the party’s battered image. Magashule was one of 30 members affected; he faces criminal charges relating to a R225 million asbestos project in the Free State when he was premier. (They were meant to remove the asbestos. They didn’t.) 🙄 That trial is ongoing. 

The rest of his peers in the ANC’s “top six” leadership found their backbone after he missed the deadline. On Wednesday the ANC’s deputy SG Jessie Duarte issued Magashule with a notice of his temporary suspension, which came into effect on 3 May. This means Magashule may not carry out his responsibilities as SG, represent the party publicly nor mobilise ANC structures. He will still get paid though – his salary is a whopping R133 000 a month!

But this move cements Ramaphosa’s influence over the party, as many have been questioning his political clout. 

You’d think this comes as a blow to Magashule, but boy do we have news for you. Magashule then said with the “powers vested” in him he would… wait for it… suspend the president of the ANC, not to mention our country, Cyril Ramaphosa. 

As broadcaster Ashraf Garda put it on Twitter: “That’s like the player giving the referee a red card in response to the red card he has received. South Africa is alive with possibilities.” 😂

Magashule also hit back at his deputy, Duarte, saying she didn’t have the authority to issue the suspension, adding that until his appeal has been heard, his ‘suspension is thus wholly suspended’. The word “suspension” promptly lost all meaning. 😵

He’s wrong though. According to  Rule 25.7 of the ANC constitution, Duarte can suspend him, as the Daily Maverick’s Ferial Haffajee highlighted.

So what’s next? We’ll get more clarity after the larger National Executive Committee meets this weekend. Until then the ANC has asked Magashule to respect its decision or face a disciplinary hearing. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates