This week was the first time in a long time that South Africans experienced a glimmer of hope regarding the rampant corruption in the country.

Following the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last weekend, President Ramaphosa announced the NEC ruling on Monday: that all members facing criminal charges must step down from their positions within 30 days or face suspension.

The ruling clearly states that the 30 day period will be to enable the implementation of the decision, and not to review the decision, as can be seen on the last page.

A move in the right direction, against corruption

During his announcement on Monday, President Ramaphosa stated that the ANC is distancing itself from lambasting the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, and made a point to note that no state body was above criticism, and called on all members to cooperate with the Commission.

He also stated that no ANC member should support or be involved with those factions within the ANC supporting Radical Economic Transformation (RET). He stated that the NEC will not allow ANC members to use ANC resources to support RET or any other factions within the ANC, including those in the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA).

The NEC expressed concern over the use of Umkhonto we Sizwe to promote factionalism and stated “In this regard, processes should be initiated to bring the MK Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) and the MK National Council together towards the convening of the united conference. Members of these structures are urged to desist forthwith from any activities that contribute to social disorder in society, or cause disunity or factionalism in the ANC.”

That President Ramaphosa is openly and clearly stating “stop attacking the Commission of Inquiry and cooperate” and that “ANC members should not support RET”, is a significant step forward and should not be underestimated in this climate of public apathy and mistrust in the government.

The challenge ahead – what will Ace do?

Questions were previously raised as to whether the NEC would uphold the ANC’s own resolutions.

In December 2020, DA National Spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube MP said “If the ANC is serious about cleaning house, they should start with Magashule and work their way through the organization even if they all end up in jail. This is what is expected from a governing party by the people of South Africa.”

On Wednesday this week, Magashule spoke to the media following a tree-planting event in Soweto. When questioned about the NEC ruling and if he would step down, he said people should “wait and see”. He confidently affirmed his support for the ANC, saying he would “live and die in the ANC” and that his “blood will remain black, green and gold.”

When asked if he would approach the courts on the matter, he said “You don’t resolve ANC matters through the courts of law. You resolve political matters through politics.”

This statement should rattle every citizen of this country.

The debacle neither falls under the umbrella of “ANC matters” nor “political matters”. This is theft. It is money laundering, fraud and endangering people’s lives by leaving them living under asbestos roofs, by stealing the R255 million intended for the asbestos audit and roof replacement.

It is ludicrous for the country to accept the flimsy dismissal that this is a “political matter”. If it is genuinely thought of as an in-house issue, then we are in bigger trouble than previously thought.

South Africa doing right by the people

Ace Magashule and 15 others who were his co-conspirators, will face 74 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and theft, and asbestos regulations contraventions when they appear in the high court in August.

The extent of the alleged corruption is so absurd it begs the question: if the landscape and processes are such that it is apparently easy to rob the people of South Africa, with ample support from comrades doing the same, then will South Africa have the capability to bring the perpetrators to justice? There certainly seems to be a sentiment that it is not only the general public which is sick and tired of corruption, but also leadership.

According to Mail & Guardian’s article entitled “Magashule’s plan to weasel out of a tight step-aside corner“, Magashule is planning to travel to the various regions in question and mobilise support to put pressure on national office bearers to reverse the decision. If the Magashule allies are enough in numbers to swing the step-aside decision in his favour and he pulls this off, it is almost copy-paste Zuma.

As South Africa, in its unemployment anguish, lugs its junk status along the Covid minefield, it can ill-afford another Zuma.

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