South Africa’s ANC reaffirms ‘step aside’ rule for corruption-charged members

SOWETO, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG, SOUTH AFRICA - 2018/04/11: African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) members seen singing during Winnie Mandela's funeral at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Winnie Mandela, the ex wife of Nelson Mandela passed away in Johannesburg on April 2nd, 2018 after a long illness at the age of 81, the funeral has been celebrated to keep non-racial South Africa dream in people’s mind. (Photo by Bongani Siziba/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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A top committee of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has reaffirmed that all members charged with corruption or other serious crimes must vacate their posts within 30 days or face suspension, the party said on Tuesday.

The ANC added in a statement that the National Working Committee (NWC) had instructed that letters be written to affected members “implementing this decision, and outlining the terms and conditions regulating their participation and conduct during the suspension”.

The “step aside” rule is an important test of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s control over the ANC and his commitment to tackle graft.

One of Ramaphosa’s most prominent party rivals, Secretary-General Ace Magashule, faces corruption charges but has refused to vacate his position in charge of the day-to-day running of the party that has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid.

The NWC comprises top ANC officials and implements the decisions of the party’s executive.

The ANC said that at a meeting on Monday the NWC had received reports on party members charged with corruption or other serious crimes and the status of their cases.

A decision by a member to voluntarily “step aside” from their post would be reviewed by the party every six months, it added.