By Loyiso Sidimba
ANC Northern Cape chairperson Dr Zamani Saul has warned of more strife and chaos in the governing party over the implementation of the step aside rule for leaders and members implicated in wrongdoing.
Addressing the ANC Francis Baard regional conference on Saturday, Saul told delegates that the step aside rule was one of the most critical aspects of the party’s renewal.
“Stepping aside is a conference resolution. It’s not the NEC (national executive committee) that took that decision; it is the national conference that took that decision. Go and read the national conference resolution, it’s very clear that people who are charged must step aside,” he said.
According to Saul, the resolution goes further to state that those who are confronted with serious allegations of fraud and corruption must appear before the ANC integrity commission.
”If I am confronted with serious allegations of fraud, corruption and other serious offences, I must write a letter to the integrity commission and ask for a meeting. But if I’m charged to appear in a court of law, I must immediately step aside because it can’t be that I continue to be the face of the ANC that professes to fight corruption, but I’m supposed to go to court for corruption.”
Saul continued: “I’m sure comrades can see the contradiction. Branches of the ANC were not mistaken in taking that decision, saying we are an organisation that commits now to organisational renewal to improve our image.”
He said it cannot be that the ANC says it is fighting corruption and the people who are its face are due in court for corruption.
“That call by the Nasrec conference causes a great deal of pain and now it has unleashed chaos because I’m standing here now, I don’t know whether the president of the ANC is still a member or not a member because his membership is suspended,” Saul said.
He said he did not know whether ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was still in his position because his deputy Jessie Duarte suspended him.
Saul was referring to Magashule’s suspension this week after he defied the ANC’s call for leaders facing serious charges to step aside until they have been cleared in court.
“This thing has unleashed chaos in the movement, but the argument I have consistently raised is that this is positive chaos because there is no way we can go through this phase of renewal without there being deep pain because we are cleansing ourselves,” he explained.
Saul warned that there will be deep pain, distractions and chaos, but the ANC needs focused leadership that is very decisive and does not get easily distracted.
“The battle to renew the organisation will not be an easy one, it’s not a walk in the park. It’s a difficult battle that will generate pain, that will bring about chaos in the organisation, but the only thing we need is focused leadership that is courageous and not easily distracted.” IOL