‘It’s politics versus the law,’ Magashule says after high court defeat

‘I think a higher court can come to another decision which will be fair,’ suspended ANC secretary-general says of his decision to appeal ruling

Suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule talks to journalists at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Feb. 26, 2019. Picture: Alaister Russell
Suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule talks to journalists at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Feb. 26, 2019. Picture: Alaister Russell
Image: Alaister Russell

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule will appeal a high court order dismissing his challenge to the party’s step-aside rule.

“Our team was the best team, and that’s why we are appealing the judgment,” Magashule said in a televised interview on Friday afternoon.

Newzroom Afrika anchor Thami Ngubeni spoke to Magashule hours after the South Gauteng High Court rejected his challenge. The discussion included the KwaZulu-Natal High Court’s rejection earlier in the day of former president Jacob Zuma’s application for an urgent interdict against his imprisonment.

In late June, a full bench of the high court heard Magashule’s case against ANC leader President Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and the ANC. He wanted the court to invalidate the party’s step-aside rule and his letter of suspension.

“I think a higher court can come to another decision which will be fair. This is political but I think it’s political as well as legal,” Magashule said. “Certain decisions have been taken in my absence and I think you can see that,” he said in an apparent reference to events in the ANC since his suspension in early May.

Magashule denied he had only dealt with the step-aside rule when it affected him. “I don’t want to come here and criticise the judges and that’s why what I want to say is that it’s politics versus the law,” he said.

When asked about Zuma’s failed bid at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court to interdict his jail sentence by the Constitutional Court, Magashule said the apex court had “jumped” to a decision when Zuma’s case seeking the recusal of the State Capture Inquiry chair Raymond Zondo was still pending.

“You can see and read and understand what is happening [...] so are the days of our lives, this is the South Africa of the day. Time will tell. I think it’s politics, it’s law [...] I think that is why we must remain resolute,” said Magashule.

The high court found Magashule’s letter dated May 3 purporting to suspend Ramaphosa did not comply with the ANC’s party rules because Ramaphosa had not been charged with any offence. The court said this was “simple logic”, though Magashule had raised his suspicions about the financing of Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign. 

Magashule has been charged for several alleged offences dating to his tenure as the premier of the Free State. He appealed to the public not to pre-empt the court’s decision. “I have never taken a cent from anybody,” he said.

Magashule and 15 co-accused are next due in court on August 11.

batese@businesslive.co.za

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