Home News Inconsistencies in ANC step-aside rule and why it sows division

Inconsistencies in ANC step-aside rule and why it sows division

Inconsistencies in ANC step-aside rule and why it sows division

Durban – Critics of the step-aside resolution argue it has changed drastically since it was implemented at the 54th elective conference at Nasrec in 2017, and point to presidential candidate Dr Zweli Mkhize, saying he stepped aside out of principle and not because he was criminally charged.

ANC national executive committee (NEC) members attending its weekend meeting, including Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, had asked that President Cyril Ramaphosa step aside so the investigation into the Phala Phala farm robbery could continue, but this is unlikely to happen, especially with an elective conference just weeks away.

Here are the key issues regarding the step aside-resolution and Ramaphosa:

– Ramaphosa is under pressure to step aside because of the Phala Phala scandal. Under ANC party rules, members charged with serious crimes have 30 days to leave their post or face suspension. In June, former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa for not reporting a theft of $4 million dollars from his Phala Phala farm in February 2020, and for trying to cover it up

Ramaphosa has acknowledged a burglary, but denies other allegations, saying he reported the break-in to the police. He has also disputed the amount of money involved, explaining it came from legitimate sales of game from his animal-breeding farm.

One of Ramaphosa’s key lobbyists, minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele, at the weekend said the president needs to be protected from people who want him to step aside even before he was charged.

He said that in an ideal democracy Ramaphosa was supposed to just step aside, but said the party had become ‘filthy’ and there is a need to protect those who are possibly innocent who find themselves a target.

– KZN provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo, at the NEC meeting, called on the party to be decisive in whatever decision it would be making regarding the Phala Phala matter. He is reported to have said that if the decision is that Ramaphosa must be defended in public, then so be it, they will do that even though they do not necessarily agree with the decision.

In October, party leaders from KZN and Limpopo issued a joint statement saying the step-aside rule is weakening the ANC and defocusing the organisation.

Both provinces said they would collectively engage delegates attending the December conference to push for the total scrapping of the resolution or that the rule must be strengthened in order to ensure that it is applied consistently.

“It is concerning is that state institutions such as the Special Investigative Unit (SIU), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and many others, are vulnerable to abuse and to be used for factional and ulterior motives. Such state institutions may even be manipulated by ANC members who are in control of state power for their own personal and narrow interests. Even those who are not in control of the state or within the ANC are likely to use the step-aside rule to advance their hidden agendas, which ultimately weakens the ANC, and leaders are pitted against society," the provinces said.

Both provinces raised concerns that "skewed and inconsistent implementation of the step aside resolution has divided the ANC and the alliance".

According to the provinces: “There are leaders that are selectively targeted for charges, with court cases getting prolonged under the pretext of investigations. Some comrades are charged ahead of conferences with an intention of barring them from contesting”.

They said the implementation of the resolution is in conflict with the ANC’s constitution and the Constitution of the country.

Original Article