Legal opinions differ over asking ANC members to ‘step aside’

The ‘step-aside’ issue has become a hot potato for the ANC, as some of the party’s top leaders facing criminal charges refuse to leave their positions, temporarily or otherwise. These include secretary general Ace Magashule.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Lawyers will play a crucial role in whether corruption-accused ANC leaders — including secretary-general Ace Magashule — will have to step down.

Conflicting legal opinions on whether the party can remove leaders who are charged with corruption are expected to ignite heated debate at the weekend’s national executive committee meeting.

Ahead of its last NEC meeting of the year, the ANC sought legal advice on how members facing criminal charges or alleged wrongdoing can step aside from their official duties.

TimesLIVE understands that there were four legal opinions sought from top legal minds in the country, including the ANC’s long-time lawyer, advocate Gcina Malindi, former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, advocate Mashudu Tshivhase and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.

Two of the legal opinions TimesLIVE has seen — by Phosa and Tshivhase — advise the party against forcing any of its members to step aside, while News24 reported that Malindi gives the ANC the go-ahead to ask members to step aside.

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