Johannesburg - The ANC alliance partners, Cosatu and SACP, have joined several provincial ANC top leaders in support of the national leadership’s latest bid to force its senior and provincial leaders accused of fraud and corruption to step aside.
The long-awaited move was put into action on Monday night after ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the party had given its own secretary-general, Ace Magashule, and several others accused of fraud and corruption 30 days to step aside from their official positions pending the conclusion of criminal charges against them.
Other leaders facing criminal charges included ANC NEC member and former State Security Minister Bongani Bongo; former ANC MP Vincent Smith; former Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba; former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, ANC KwaZulu-Natal deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu and Kgotso Khumalo - Mayor of JB Marks Municipality in Potchefstroom in the North West province, as well as Limpopo ANC provincial treasurer Danny Msiza.
These leaders are facing criminal charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering at various courts in the country.
Ramaphosa said: “All members who have been charged with corruption or other serious crimes must step aside within 30 days, failing which they should be suspended in terms of Rule 25.70 of the ANC Constitution.
“The meeting emphasised that the 30-day period will be to enable the implementation of the decision in line with the guidelines, not to review the decision.”
He also said: “The secretary-general’s office will work with the provinces to identify all people affected and inform them of the decision. The NEC welcomed the decision by the ANC secretary-general Comrade Ace Magashule to use this time to seek the counsel of past leaders of the movement.”
Both Cosatu and the SACP said on Tuesday this was long overdue, but welcomed the move as an important step to curb corruption in all spheres of government.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said it was a positive step in the right direction, but added that Cosatu “has witnessed a lot of these encouraging steps only to see them falter during the implementation phase.
“Experience has taught us to await the implementation of this decision before making our final assessment of its significance. The organisation has attracted an army of vexatious litigants in its ranks who have used the judicial system to undermine organisational discipline and fight factional battles,” Pamla said.
Supporting Cosatu, SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said: “Decisive implementation of the resolution will go a long way in clamping down on state capture and other forms of corruption within our broader movement, the state and the economy.”
ANC provincial leaders in the Northern Cape and North West told Independent Media that they had already implemented the resolution since August last year. North West ANC interim provincial committee leader Hlomane Chauke said they had asked former provincial finance MEC Wendy Nelson to step down following allegations of corruption against her.
“We’ve also asked the former mayor of Lekwa-Teemane who was accused of rape to step down. He has since been acquitted due to insufficient evidence against him,” Chauke said.
He, however, said Khumalo has been resisting their attempts, but said the latest ANC’s decision has emboldened the provincial structure to bring disciplinary charges against him.
ANC Northern Cape secretary Deshi Ngxanga said they had placed three councillors under suspension and one of them for a sex-related offence. In the Eastern Cape, the provincial ANC leadership acted against Gomba after the NPA reinstated criminal charges against her for allegedly defrauding funds meant for the funeral preparation of ANC stalwart and former president Nelson Mandela in December 2013.
Limpopo ANC provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane did not respond to a request to comment on whether they would act against Msiza and other leaders facing similar charges.
The Free State and Mpumalanga ANC leaders, Thabo Meeko and Mandla Ndlovu (acting provincial chairman), said they would pronounce after consulting with branches and component structures.