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‘You’re doing the right thing’: Magashule backs Mervyn Dirks

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‘You’re doing the right thing’: Magashule backs Mervyn Dirks

No MP was suspended for speaking out against Zuma and the same should apply for Dirks, says suspended ANC SG

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File photo.
Image: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Embattled ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has come out in support of suspended party MP Mervyn Dirks, saying his conduct was principled and in line with the ANC constitution. 

Dirks is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to account in parliament for remarks he allegedly made in a leaked audio clip about the misuse of public funds for internal party leadership campaigns in 2017.

After he sent his letter to parliament’s watchdog, Scopa, Dirks was ordered by ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina to withdraw it and he was subsequently suspended. 

“But you can’t suspend Mervyn Dirks because the ANC leadership has said we must expose whatever corruption and maladministration wherever it exits. Mervyn Dirks is acting as a member of parliament, and I think his consciousness and the way the ANC has taught him, he’s doing the right thing. You can’t trample on him,” said Magashule.

To back his claim, he cited the conduct of ANC MPs during former president Jacob Zuma’s tenure in which corruption was exposed. No MP was suspended for speaking out, and the same rationale should be applied in the case of Dirks.

“You would remember even in the times of Jacob Zuma, committees were very active and we never took any action against committee members when they were saying there is corruption, come here, present this and that. So, it must be same rules that apply. 

“That chap is principled. I love chaps like him,” he said.

Asked if he was a part of the meeting in which Ramaphosa made the remarks which could see him summoned by Scopa, Magashule could not say for sure. 

Despite this, he did not deny the discussion took place. 

“As the [secretary-general’s office] we are custodians of ANC minutes, discussions and debate. I can’t remember, but I think I was in that meeting, and the way I’ve been taught, I keep ANC matters internally,” he said.

Sunday Times Daily reported on Monday that Magashule lost another bid to have his party suspension set aside. He had petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) after failing to persuade the Johannesburg high court to grant him leave to appeal last year.  

He approached the SCA with the hope it would overturn the high court, which had upheld his suspension. Magashule also wanted the SCA to reverse the high court’s finding that there was nothing unconstitutional about the ANC’s “step-aside” resolution.  

In a single paragraph, the SCA dismissed his application with costs — without a hearing. 

Asked about his next move, Magashule said he would appeal the outcome in the high court.

“If you listened to the judge, justice Madlanga, yesterday when he was being interviewed, he made a point that sometimes the law is not that much about justice ... Sometimes, he says, you might take wrong decisions just because of the law, because it is not just justice, and he made a point also that it is the right of people to continue when they are not satisfied to appeal.

“Of course we will appeal to the highest court in the land, because what I was arguing was that the ANC constitution is not in line with the constitution of SA,” he said.

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