ANC secretary general, a leading political rival of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the party was temporarily relieved of his duties in line with tougher rules for members charged with corruption.
South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) plans to oppose a court application by one of its top officials challenging his suspension, the party explained on Monday.
Last week, Ace Magashule challenged his suspension as secretary general in court, the latest twist in a power struggle that has revealed deep fractures in the party that has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid.
The ANC mentioned that the decision to oppose Magashule’s application was agreed at a meeting of its top officials on Monday as they stated in a statement.
However, he faces corruption charges over a contract to audit homes with asbestos roofs when he was premier of Free State province but has called the charges flimsy. Magashule was granted bail in November.
Ramaphosa has put his reputation on making ANC’s image clean, and the move to sideline Magashule is recognised as an attempt to stamp his authority on the party before a leadership contest next year at which he is expected to seek re-election.