The ruling party’s top leaders recently snubbed ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s public announcement. Last Month, Magashule made a public announcement that the party’s upcoming birthday rally would be held in his hometown, Bloemfontein. Magashule made this announcement on the doorsteps of Bloemfontein’s court after an appearance on a number of corruption charges.
However, after intense discussions at the recent three-day meeting that ended on Tuesday, the ANC national executive committee (NEC) has taken a decision ignore Magashule’s unsanctioned public announcement.
The NEC has instead opted to stick with the party’s system of rotating its birthday bash from province to province and it has announced that the birthday bash was due to be held in Limpopo in January 2021.
The ANC NEC said in a statement that it has noted the recommendation on January 8 celebration, which was presented by head of organisation, Nomvula Mokonyane, and it has resolved that the birthday celebration be held in Limpopo province as per practice of rotation
It was not immediately clear how the celebrations would be hosted, given the Covid-19 restrictions. The NEC statement said the January 8 celebrations would reach out to people across the country “in a manner that is in line with the Covid-19 disaster regulations”.
According to the party’s insiders, hosting the January 8 rally on home ground would have allowed Magashule to show his individual force, as the event would have been packed with his supporters, who were likely to use the opportunity to embarrass ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and other opponents of Magashule’s faction.
Shouting from the Bloemfontein’s Magistrate Court’s doorsteps, where he had just appeared on various charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering, Magashule told his supporters that the ANC was formed in Bloemfontein. He continued to say that it was not his decision, but the decision of the national working committee [NWC] on behalf of the national executive committee. He added that the celebration will be held in Limpopo in 2022.
The announcement sent shock waves and was seen as Magashule’s attempt at forcing the NEC’s hand. At the time of his announcement, it was only a proposal from the NWC to the NEC that the party should consider the Free State as the host province. NWC insiders at the time said that there was no such decision and that Magashule had jumped the gun.
Because of the charges he is facing, Magashule has also been under pressure to step down. He has remained mum on whether he would step down or not if asked to do so. Instead, Magashule emphasised the need to allow what he calls “the ANC processes” to unfold.
Magashule is to meet with the party’s integrity commission soon. He has also refused to say anything about how he planned to plead his case before the structure which is made up of the party’s veterans.
“There’s nothing I can say … I don’t want to pre-judge or pre-empt what they’re going to say, that’s for the integrity commission to navigate. Let’s leave it to the ANC and the national officials to decide,” he said.
The party’s top six are expected to deal with the outcome and then share them with various upper structures of the party.