The African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that all members facing criminal charges in the ruling party must step aside within 30 days or face suspension.

This is after the National Executive Committee (NEC), the ANC’s highest decision-making body in between conferences met virtually at the weekend discussing a number of matters relating to the party.

In his closing address to the ANC’ NEC, Ramaphosa confirmed that members facing criminal charges before a court of law must step aside from their positions and present themselves to the party’s integrity commission.

READ MORE: ANC NEC in ‘chaos’ as Magashule refuses to step down

“All members who have been charged with corruption or other serious crimes must step aside within 30 days, failing which they should be suspended in terms of Rule 25.70 of the ANC Constitution.

“The meeting emphasised that the 30 day period will be to enable the implementation of the decision in line with the guidelines, not to review the decision,” he said.

Last month, the NEC adopted guidelines on implementing the resolutions of the governing party’s 2017 national conference related to members and leaders facing criminal charges or serious allegations of wrongdoing.

The guidelines will see ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and others facing criminal charges being asked to vacate their positions in 30 days.

‘Attacks on Zondo Commission’

Ramaphosa said the ruling party has distances itself from attacks on the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

He  called on ANC leaders and members to cooperate with the commission while noting no arm of the state was above criticism.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa calls on ANC members to stop ‘unnecessary attacks’ on Zondo

“The ANC distances itself from attacks on the judiciary that seeks to undermine its legitimacy and the decisions that it takes,” he said.

This is after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) heard arguments regarding former president Jacob Zuma’s failure to honour a summons for him to appear before the commission last week. The court has since reserved its judgment.

Ramaphosa also confirmed that he will appear at the commission on 22, 23, 28 and 29 April 2021.

RET forces and factionalism

He further addressed matters of Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces within the party.

“The meeting agreed that no ANC member should associate themselves with or be involved in the so-called ‘RET Forces’. The NEC will not allow will not allow any member of the ANC staff to use the resources and premises of the ANC to hold meetings of the RET or any other faction,” he said.

READ MORE: RET faction is gaining traction in the ANC

In addition, Ramaphosa addressed growing factionalism within the party after from several structures including the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), and the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal,  publicly backed Zuma, with some saying that they would physically protect the former president from arrest.

“The NEC expressed concern at the use of the name of Umkhonto we Sizwe to promote factionalism in the ANC and engage in acts of social instability. The meeting warned against utterances or actions that bring the proud history and noble legacy of Umkhonto we Sizwe into disrepute.

“The meeting urged the implementation of conference resolution to urgently convene a Conference to form a united structure of all MK military veterans,” he added.

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