Call for NEC to rethink its step-aside decision

Call for NEC to rethink its step-aside decision
FILE: Sections of the ANC are calling for the ANC's NEC to stave off implementing the Step Aside rule until next year's elective conference. PICTURE BY Daily Maverick

They believe the decision will further tear the ANC into pieces and therefore the NEC should wait until the 2022 national elective conference where branches will apply their minds on how to implement it.

A call has been made on the ANC’s NEC to re-think its step aside decision as it’s seen to be violating the Constitutional rights of those comrades who are expected to step aside and fueling further divisions in the ruling party.

The comrades who are making this call believe the NEC should suspend the decision at least until the party holds its next elective conference or a proper way of implementing it is found.

The next conference, scheduled for December 2022, will allow branch members to engage on the proper ways of putting the resolution to work.

The decision, implemented in March 2021, doesn’t regard the individual’s right to be “treated as innocent until proven guilty”, former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has said.

ALSO SEE: Mpumalanga not happy with Ace Magashule stepping aside

The ANCWL said the decision tends to target certain individuals and will divide the ANC.

Secretary-general Meokgo Matuba is echoing the dissenting voices that have come out against the NEC decision, saying it’s better if the NEC relooks at it before it causes further confusion, division and frustration amongst warring factions in the party.

NEC member Nomvula Mokonyane said they are not against the stepping aside of comrades who are accused of corruption but are against the target of certain individual leaders.

She said the unity of the ANC is important now and that’s one of the resolutions they took at Nasrec that they would unite the ANC, therefore the decision tends to seek to plunge the party into further disunity by targeting certain individual leaders, than genuinely fighting corruption.

Addressing branch members in the North West town of Delareyville the past weekend, Mahumapelo said they are calling on the NEC leadership to come and “master the art of the necessary political engagement.”

He called on the one part in the decision which conflicts the Constitution to be suspended, even until next year’s 55th national elective conference where branches will deliberate on it and find a proper way to implement it.

“When you don’t voluntarily step aside and we push you into the Disciplinary Committee, we are flouting the Constitution of the Republic because the Constitution of the Republic says you are innocent until proven guilty,” he said to branch members.

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Mahumapelo is facing a disciplinary hearing after being suspended Wednesday 21 April by the North West’s ANC interim provincial committee for “ill-discipline” and his case is being heard before a disciplinary committee this week.

The interim structure suspended Mahumapelo for addressing a parallel gathering in December 2020 while the interim structure held the Siyabonga rally and in that parallel event he allegedly advised JB Marks mayor Kgotso Khumalo to not listen to the interim structure after it ordered him to step aside over a criminal charge that he is faced with.

He has denied the charges as harassment ahead of a provincial conference where he will contest the chairmanship post.

Two weeks ago, Mpumalanga acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali also voiced out a concern with the manner in which secretary-general Ace Magashule was being forced to leave office.

She said she believed the step-aside resolution needed to be “handled in a manner that is correct” as people would be accused of corruption “only to find later it was a witch-hunt”.

“The problem that we are doing we are interpreting the step-aside only. Go and read our own Constitution, it says ‘until you have gone [through] the process fully’.

“Some of these matters are politically motivated, hence we are saying let’s follow the processes properly and not use the courts to fight the processes of the ANC,” she said.

She added that just recently NEC member Bongani Bongo was found not guilty by the Western Cape High Court and what would have happened to him if he stepped down from the ANC and his Parliamentary job, suggesting he would now be in the political wilderness.

“How many more people they are going to have allegations levelled against them and at the end they are acquitted, hence we are saying that the decision should be implemented in a manner that doesn’t step on the toes of our Constitution,” she said.

(edited by MLM)
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