The Constitutional Court has dismissed Ace Magashule’s application to appeal his suspension as the ANC’s secretary-general.
In a short judgment, the apex court said Magashule had no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension. This is yet another court bid he has lost on the matter.
“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for condonation and the application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that though there are no reasonable prospects of success on merits of the application for leave to appeal, the delay in bringing the application for leave to appeal is minimal, the explanation for the delay is adequate and there is no prejudice to the respondents,” the judgment reads.
“Consequently, condonation is granted, but leave to appeal must be refused for lack of reasonable prospects of success.”
Magashule was suspended from the ANC in May 2021, in line with the party’s step-aside rule, after failing to voluntarily vacate his position because of his legal challenges. The provision calls on those who are indicted in a court of law to voluntarily step aside until they have dealt with their legal woes, failing which they will face suspension.
Magashule is facing charges of fraud and corruption relating to a R255m asbestos roof auditing tender awarded during his tenure as Free State premier.
He approached the Constitutional Court after his failed bid at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which in January upheld the high court’s decision.
He had sought to challenge his suspension on the basis that the step-aside rule was unconstitutional, but his applications have failed at the high court, SCA and now at the ConCourt.
Magashule had pinned his hopes on the apex court declaring his suspension and the step-aside rule unlawful. That way he would be eligible to stand for an ANC top- six position when the party holds its conference in December.
Last week the party’s policy conference rejected moves to scrap the rule, though it conceded its application was perhaps not entirely fair.
An amended version strengthening the step-aside provision has barred those facing criminal charges from standing for any leadership position in the party.
The party will open for nominations for the December conference later this month. The Constitutional Court ruling means Magashule may not stand for positions he is rumoured to have earmarked, including election as party president and re-election as secretary-general.