The ANC has briefed a legal team headed by advocate Wim Trengove to oppose an audacious court application by Ace Magashule to overturn his suspension as secretary general and enforce his attempt to suspend President Cyril Ramaposa as leader of the party.
The party consulted lawyers over the weekend after Magashule filed notice at the high court in Johannesburg on Thursday and issued a statement on Monday afternoon confirming that it would fight his bid to turn the tables on the party and Ramaphosa.
“ANC officials met on Monday and affirmed the decision to oppose the application lodged by the secretary general, comrade Ace Magashule, to have, among others, his temporary suspension lifted,” it said.
Magashule listed Ramaphosa, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and the party as the respondents in his papers.
He gave them until Thursday afternoon to file responding affidavits.
A well-placed source said on Monday that while papers were being drafted it was not clear at this stage when these would be filed.
In his founding affidavit, Magashule warned that his falling out with fellow leaders of the ANC was not a mundane organisational dispute but a politically lethal battle between himself and Ramaphosa with consequences for the country because the latter is the head of the state.
He went on to accuse Ramaphosa of abusing the stand-aside guidelines to oust him to ease his own reelection as president of the party at its next conference in 2022.
Magashule attacked the revised rules on the basis that these are unconstitutional and selective because they only required those formally charged with serious offences to step aside and were, as such, intended to further divide the party.
He argued that if the original resolution applied, all those accused of corrupt activities, including the president, would need to step aside. Therefore, his own notice served on Ramaphosa should be decreed lawful by the court, he submitted.
Magashule risks expulsion from the party for refusing instructions to apologise for sending the notice to Ramaphosa on May 5, just hours after he was served with a suspension letter.
The ANC’s legal team also includes advocates Ngwako Maenetje, Fana Nalane and Buhle Lekoktla.