By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) – South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) announced Tuesday that it will suspend all party leaders facing charges of corruption and other serious crimes who have refused to step down.
The party said in a statement that the National Working Committee (NWC) has instructed that letters be sent to all members who are affected by the new “step-aside” decision.
ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule, a powerful politician who manages the party's daily affairs, is among the top officials charged with corruption.
The charges against Magashule relate to a $15 million contract to remove asbestos from homes in poor neighborhoods in the Free State province, where he served as premier from 2009 to 2018. He denies involvement in corruption.
The ANC's National Executive Committee meeting held from March 26-29 resolved that any party official charged with corruption or any other serious crime should step aside, but some are reportedly not complying, including Magashule.
Last year, the ANC’s Integrity Commission recommended that Magashule step down from his position pending the outcome of his corruption case.
“The NWC resolved that the last decision of the National Executive Committee, as outlined above, must be implemented,” it said in a statement, adding those who have not stepped aside will be suspended.
Several officials of the ruling ANC, in power since 1994, have been accused of corruption, staining the integrity of the liberation movement that fought apartheid, bringing democracy to the most developed economy on the continent.
Analysts say the party’s tough stance on corruption is a move to cleanse itself of chronic graft within its ranks and win back public support ahead of local government elections.