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Ace asked to step aside – ANC Integrity Committe

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The ANC’s Integrity Commission, led by George Mashamba, has asked the party secretary general Ace Magashule to step aside in a bid to stop further damage to the image of the organisation.

THE ANC’s Integrity Commission, led by George Mashamba, has asked the party secretary-general Ace Magashule to step aside in a bid to stop further damage to the image of the organisation and negative public perception by the electorate.

The decision is contained in a three-page report sent to the party’s national leadership after Magashule appeared before the Integrity Commission on Saturday to answer to allegations of his involvement in allegations of irregularity involving a R255 million asbestos tender.

Magashule was charged with several counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on November 3.

The charges followed after Gauteng businessman Edward Sodi’s company Blackhead Consulting and its joint-venture partner Diamond Hill, owned by the late businessman Ignatious Mpambani, were awarded the contract in 2014.

In evidence presented at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture, it was revealed the contract was subcontracted twice and the final company that performed the asbestos audit did so for just over R20 million.

Magashule was implicated in the deal and his former personal assistant faced questions at the inquiry over requests for payments she allegedly made to Mpambani on behalf of Magashule.

He is due back in court on February 19 along with nine of his co-accused including former Mangaung Metro mayor Olly Mlamleli.

The Integrity Commission has recommended to the ANC national executive committee to suspend Magashule until finalisation of the trial against him.

“The Integrity Commission is concerned that there is a growing negative perception about the NEC. The IC is increasingly receiving feedback from the general public, including the ANC members, that the NEC is not providing decisive leadership and is paralysed in fulfilling its promise of organisational renewal and combating corruption.

“Of concern to the IC is not the correctness or otherwise of these perceptions. The concern is the negative and damaging impact these perceptions have on the organisation. It is now perceived that the NEC cannot implement its decision against its secretary-general not as a form of protecting him, but because some of the NEC members are themselves implicated in wrongdoing.

“The highest decision-making body between conferences is responsible for the increasing lack of trust by the very same people it purports to lead,” Mashamba said.

He said Magashule, in his interaction with the Commission, indicated that he would not resist the decision of the NEC “even if he might not agree with it.”

“However, in the unlikely event of resistance to this, the NEC should consider suspension pending the finalisation of the criminal case against him,” Mashamba wrote.

Magashule and party spokesperson Pule Mabe were not available for comment. However, last week, Magashule told the media that his future at the party will be discussed in January during the first NEC meeting which will be held in Limpopo ahead of the party’s 109th birthday celebrations.