Any ANC member charged with a criminal charge in court will be immediately expelled from all ANC activities and all political activities, and will only be readmitted to do so after being found not guilty, after new rules set by the national executive committee (NEC) decision.
This is a huge change in current practice where ANC politicians are endlessly stretching court cases on the principle that they have been “proven innocent to guilty”.
It is not yet clear exactly when the decision will take effect – that decision on the implementation date will be taken next weekend at another meeting of the ruling party’s NEC.
Four prominent ANC members are currently facing criminal charges in court cases and will therefore be suspended as soon as the decision takes effect.
They are former pres. Jacob Zuma (corruption), former minister Bongani Bongo (corruption), Zandile Gumede, former mayor of the Ethekwini municipality in Durban (corruption) and Thandi Modise, speaker of the National Assembly (animal cruelty).
The announcement was made at an ANC media conference on Monday by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa. An indication of how fierce the struggle is in the ANC is that it is the first ANC media conference outside ANC congresses to be addressed by the ANC leader since 2011, when it was Zuma who addressed the news conference announcing that the ANC suspended its then youth leader, Julius Malema.
That news conference was the prelude to the biggest rift in the ANC’s 108-year history – the founding of the EFF.
How Zuma will react to the events is currently uncertain. He launched a cunning public attack on Ramaphosa last week by open letter. That letter was rejected by the NEC and Ramaphosa received the outspoken support of the NEC – a catastrophic failure and judgment error for the Zuma group.
Furthermore, the ANC’s media conferences are usually addressed by Secretary-General Ace Magashule. Ramaphosa shows what seasoned political observers have been saying for a long time – Ace Magashule is not trusted by the ANC with the honest transmission of sensitive information.
The new decision to suspend court appearances in a criminal case could have serious consequences for Magashule now that Ramaphosa has amended the regulations on the Zondo Commission in such a way that criminal prosecution based on evidence can follow immediately rather than for the settlement of the commission’s work must wait.
Magashule, who looked like a bra crop, said anyone in the national prosecuting authority who prosecutes people for political reasons should be prosecuted himself. In this he was supported by Ramaphosa.