South Africa: ANC in power struggle over corruption allegations

PRETORIA, The secretary-general of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) has refused to comply with his suspension after being charged with corruption.

The dispute illustrates a power struggle within the governing party.

Ace Magashule denies the charges and said that he, as head of the ANC, had suspended President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The president warned that any ANC members facing corruption charges would also face suspension if they did not leave their posts within 30 days.

The ANC tougher code of conduct is being seen as a test of whether the party of Nelson Mandela is serious about ending years of corruption within government.

On March 30, Magashule was given a 30-day ultimatum to step down after being charged with embezzling public funds while he was premier of the Free State province. He refused to resign voluntarily, which resulted in the ANC suspending him.

A party letter on Monday said the decision to suspend Magashule would be “in the best interest of the organisation”.

But on Wednesday, he responded in a letter to Ramaphosa and his deputy Jessie Duarte that he was “appealing this unconstitutional suspension” and would stay in the job while his appeal was ongoing.

He then vowed to suspend the president, but the ANC called on Magashule to “respect” the party decision.

Magashule is the most senior ANC official who risks prosecution since Ramaphosa took office in 2018. Ramaphosa promised to tackle corruption and promote good governance, describing his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s time in office as “nine wasted years”.