EDITORIAL | Step aside for one should be step aside for all
The ANC’s rule will not properly address corruption unless every member fingered for it is forced to do so
As SA awaits Tuesday’s release of part two of the Zondo report into state capture, on Monday some corruption-accused ANC bigwigs were back in court. ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule suffered another loss when the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) agreed with the high court there was nothing unconstitutional about the ruling party’s “step-aside” rule that led to his suspension.
Magashule is facing charges of fraud and corruption relating to a R255m tender for an audit of asbestos roofing in the Free State. He is due back in court in February. The ruling party suspended him from its ranks in May 2021 after he was indicted. This was based on the ANC’s rule that if a member of a party is indicted on criminal charges, they should step aside from their position. If they do not, they may be suspended.
Magashule has gone back and forth in the courts to try to get this decision overturned. Winning it is crucial for his future in politics. The SCA judgment upholding the high court decision should be welcomed. The principle of the step-aside rule is sound — if a ruling-party leader is facing criminal charges in court, he or she should have no decision-making powers while a suspicion of corruption is hanging over his or her head. ..