The ANC Women’s League distanced itself from suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule at the weekend, saying it will not support an individual leader but the entire collective leadership of the party.
Magashule was suspended early this week by the party for failing to step aside after the 30-day period he was given by the ANC.
He is facing criminal charges relating to the Free State asbestos tender and is out on R200 000 bail.
News24 reported that during a virtual meeting on Friday, ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini proposed that the league meet with party officials to ask them to defer the implementation of a decision to suspend criminally charged leaders who did not step aside within a 30-day deadline, in the interests of uniting the party.
Some league leaders who support Magashule reportedly insisted that the ANC should review the step-aside policy and that the party should convene an urgent national general council.
However, other delegates, such as former ANCWL secretary Sisi Tolashe, said the ANC Women’s League could not seek to defy a resolution of the ANC conference that it was part of.
In an interview with the SABC on Friday, Magashule hinted that he had the support of the ANCWL, singling out its secretary-general Meokgo Matuba as having voiced the league’s support for him.
However, on Saturday morning, the ANCWL issued a statement noting its concern about Magashule’s conduct and distancing the league from him. The statement says:
With the suspension imposed on him, we appeal to him, as women, to consider humbling himself while organisational processes unfold.
We know that it is difficult but we plead with him to rise above and not conduct himself in ways that further weaken the already struggling ANC.
We are further worried that he mentioned the name of our secretary-general, Cde Meokgo Matuba, in one of his interviews.
The ANCWL will not support any individual leader of the ANC but stands to reaffirm the entire collective leadership of the ANC and our confidence in them to deliver a better life for all, especially women and other marginalised groupings.
The ANCWL chooses the ANC above all divisions in the movement. We refuse to be drawn in on the differences of ANC men who don’t care about the future of the liberation movement.
We will remain unshaken to fight for the soul of the ANC and we are confident that those who choose the ANC will stand with us.