Magashule, Yengeni and Niehaus face ANC disciplinary charges

The ANC will take disciplinary action against suspended secretary general Ace Magashule, national executive committee (NEC) member Tony Yengeni and uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus.

The governing party’s national working committee (NWC) took the decision to investigate charges against the three over their “unbecoming, divisive and defiant” behaviour at former president Jacob Zuma’s court appearance on corruption charges last week.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said the NWC was “very concerned” about the comments made by the three while addressing supporters outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

She said the NWC condemned the behaviour of the trio, all members of the so-called radical economic transformation faction of the party. The NWC had discussed their actions and decided to take action immediately.

Duarte said the NWC had supported the decision by the party officials to oppose Magashule’s high court challenge to his suspension in terms of rule 25.70 of the ANC’s constitution.

The working committee had instructed the national presenter, who leads internal charges against party members, to “look into these breaches of discipline and to investigate charges in line with the ANC constitution and code of conduct”.

Duarte said it was “unfortunate” that ANC members who had the ability to discuss their frustrations regarding decisions in the party’s structures, including its NEC, had chosen to go outside the ANC to mobilise support for themselves.

In terms of his suspension, Magashule has been banned from addressing ANC meetings — or any other gatherings — about the party’s action against him. 

Niehaus has previously been disciplined twice by the secretary general’s office regarding his public comments. 

A guilty finding for their comments — and for mobilising along factional lines — could see both being expelled from the party.

Duarte said the NWC wanted those who were accused of corruption, but not charged, to continue appearing before the party’s integrity commission.

She said those who appeared and wanted to appeal any decisions would be able to appear before a new appeal panel, chaired by ANC veteran Vusi Khanyile. Other members include veterans Mavivi Manzini, Josiah Jele, Dipuo Peters and Johnny de Lange.

Duarte said the NWC had taken reports on the step-aside process around the country, and only two members, from Limpopo, resisted the instruction to do so. Provinces had applied the step-aside regulations “cautiously”, which was a “good thing” becaue it ensured that the proper process was followed.

Duarte said the step-aside process was “not easy” and required extreme maturity and sensitivity from ANC leaders at all levels.

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