ANC issues expulsion notice in absentia on elusive Ace Magashule

The ANC found its former secretary general Ace Magashule guilty in absentia after jumping through hoops to conclude the protracted disciplinary process, which is likely to culminate in his expulsion from the governing party.

This was to sanction him after he tried to unilaterally suspend President Cyril Ramaphosa in May 2021 for the #CR17 campaign . This after accusing Ramaphosa of buying votes to lead the organisation.

According to the party’s national disciplinary committee (NDC) report dated May 28, its members mulled over the decision to continue with the hearing without Magashule or his legal representative after they moved around like headless chickens trying to locate him without success.

The committee, led by chairperson Ralph Mgijima, concluded it had properly and timeously notified Magashule of the date, venue and time for the proceedings despite failing to serve him with the hearing papers.

According to the report, Magashule had to be personally and physically served with a summons to appear for the hearing after former ANC treasurer general and lawyer Mathews Phosa quit as his legal representative.

The report stated that attempts were made by an officer to serve Magashule with the Notice of Set Down on May 15 at his residence in Bloemfontein without success. “I properly served the Notice of Set Down by affixing a copy thereof to the security gate of the residence of Sekgobela Ace Magashule, which is kept locked and thus prevents alternative service,” the officer wrote in the return of service.

But Mosidi Motsemme, apparently a friend of Magashule, informed the officer that the ousted ANC leader was in Johannesburg and refused service, so the officer stuck the summons through the gate, stated the report.

As such, stated the report, Mgijima blamed Magashule for not trying to obtain the login details for the virtual hearing to allow the former secretary-general to participate in the proceedings.

The report further said the ANC’s prosecutor – titled chief national presenter – also struggled to serve Magashule with a charge sheet at his other residence in Sasolburg. The deputy sheriff stepped in again.

Among his sins, said the report, Magashule notified Ramaphosa of his suspension in May 2021 without consulting the ANC’s top structures, including the national executive committee (NEC). On the second charge, Magashule allegedly refused to apologise to Ramaphosa within 48 hours as directed by the NEC. As a result the party charged him with misconduct.

The ANC was represented by Uriel Abrahamse, chief national presenter. Mongezi Ntanga, Amanda Vilakazi, and Mohammed Bhabha supported him.

Ntanga led the ANC’s case.

The hearing could not be finalised quickly because in November 2021 – a month after the ANC served Magashule with a charge sheet – a pre-hearing conference heard that Magashule had applied to the court to confirm Ramaphosa’s suspension. Therefore, he did not need to apologise.

By then, Magashule had lost in the high court and appealed. This forced a postponement until he exhausted his legal rights.

In June last year the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the case, followed by the Constitutional Court in August.

In November 2022, Phosa could not find Magashule to inform him of the hearing. A postponement was granted with a condition that both parties make written submissions on the merits. Only the ANC did so.

In January, proceedings were due, but Phosa raised objection and said the new NDC members were due to be appointed after the national conference last year.

“The NDC resolved to await the NEC’s appointment of NDC members,” Mgijima stated in the report.

He continued: “The NDC places on record that between 7 November 2022 and 19 January 2023, none of the dates promised by Phosa, for the hearing to be held, ever materialised”.

A new NDC was appointed in March, but Phosa left Magashule’s camp. Last week Mgijima pushed ahead without Magashule, found him guilty, and gave him seven days to explain why he should not be expelled.

Attempts to solicit comments from Magashule drew a blank .

In a video circulated on social media this week, Magashule said he would respond to the adverse findings in due course.

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