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South Africa’s Magashule to give explanation to party after corruption charges

THE secretary-general of South Africa’s governing ANC will appear before a party commission on Saturday to give an explanation, after he was charged with corruption, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.

Ace Magashule, an ally of Ramaphosa’s predecessor Jacob Zuma, faces corruption allegations related to a contract to audit homes with asbestos roofs while he served as premier of the Free State province. He has denied wrongdoing and was granted bail in court last month.

Ramaphosa is trying to clean up the ANC’s image after a decade of scandals under Zuma. In August, the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) resolved that party officials charged with corruption should take leave while allegations are investigated, but Magashule has yet to step aside from his post in charge of day-to-day party affairs.

The party which has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994 has been riven by factional divisions, including between allies of Ramaphosa and Zuma. Its NEC met from Sunday to Tuesday, with the public looking for signs of steps to push Magashule out.

“Our meeting welcomed our secretary-general’s decision to present himself to the integrity commission on the 12th of December 2020. The officials will process the outcomes of that engagement and the determination by the integrity commission,” Ramaphosa said in a speech at the end of the NEC meeting.

The party’s integrity commission can make recommendations to the NEC on whether a party official should be stripped of duties. The NEC has at times ignored those recommendations.

Ramaphosa said ANC officials would draw up guidelines that would apply when party members were charged with, convicted of or reported to be involved in corruption and other serious crimes.

He said: “The ANC needs to draw a very clear line in the sand between the organisation and those who steal.” – Thomson Reuters Foundation.