Home South African ANC serves wayward MKMVA spokesperson Niehaus with notice of suspension

ANC serves wayward MKMVA spokesperson Niehaus with notice of suspension

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Carl Niehaus has been given 48 hours to show cause why he should not be placed on suspension (on full pay) pending a disciplinary hearing

MKMVA national spokesperson Carl Niehaus. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

THE ANC has notified Carl Niehaus, one of the most senior employees in the office of the secretary-general, Ace Magashule, that it intends to suspend him from his duties for violating the party’s code of conduct.

In a letter dated January 19, 2021 and signed by Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, the ANC’s general manager, Niehaus has been given 48 hours to show cause why he should not be placed on suspension (on full pay) pending a disciplinary hearing.

What appears to have broken the camel’s back was a personal press statement issued by Niehaus on January 14. In the statement, Niehaus lampooned the ruling party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte.

Duarte incurred the wrath of Niehaus (who started working under Magashule in March 2019) after telling JJ Tabane of eNCA that she won’t respond to statements made by the spokesperson of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) because he was “not an elected leader of the ANC”.

In response to that, Niehaus issued the statement and said he was saddened that even Duarte was joining “a well-coordinated aggressive propaganda smear campaign against me… in WMC (white monopoly capital) media”. He lamented that happened while he was recovering from a Covid-19-related ailment.

“I am saddened that even the deputy secretary-general of the ANC, comrade Jessie Duarte, saw it fit to attack me, and undermine my long history as a 42-year veteran of the ANC in good standing, as well as my elected position as an NEC member of MKMVA, and MKMVA national spokesperson.

’’This she did, knowing that when she was doing so, I was gravely ill. It was unnecessary and callous – I am deeply saddened by it,” Niehaus wrote in the statement.

By doing so, the ANC said he has crossed the line, hence the intention to haul him over the coals.

“You have been advised, on more than one occasion, that your public statements and social media posts are unbecoming of someone working in this high office, which has the primary responsibility of driving and coordinating the work of all structures of the ANC. You also received a written warning to this effect, on 12 October, 2019.

“The latest statement, titled ’Personal Statement by Carl Niehaus about his ongoing Recovery from Covid-19 Pneumonia’, dated Thursday 14 January 2021… crosses all boundaries expected from an ANC employee, and particularly someone of your seniority. In particular, the personal attack on the ANC Deputy Secretary General in this statement is a serious violation of the ANC Personnel Policy Manual.

’’ANC staff members are expected to abide by the discipline of the organisation, and personal attacks by a member of staff on elected leadership – without even attempting to address the matter internally – is unprofessional, is not tolerated and is in violation of the manual,” reads part of the letter of intent to suspend Niehaus.

When asked about the letter, Niehaus refused to respond.

“I do not respond to leaked letters. As a disciplined member of the ANC I will not respond in any way whatsoever in public,” he said.

Potgieter-Gqubule did not respond when asked about the letter.