Extraordinary. Spurious. Dishonest. Flawed. Advocate Wim Trengove did not mince his words in court on 25 June 2021 as he shredded suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s attempt to have the court declare lawful his attempted suspension of President Cyril Ramaphosa on 3 May.

Trengove told the court that it was extraordinary that Magashule tried to rely on the ANC’s step aside Rule 25.7 of its Constitution as being both unlawful, as it applied to him, and lawful as it applied to Ramaphosa.

Magashule used this rule to attempt to suspend Ramaphosa in a midnight letter he unilaterally drafted and dispatched on 5 May. “A suspension may only occur on the authority of the national executive committee,” Trengove told Judge Jody Kollapen, Judge Sharise Weiner, and Judge Edwin Molahlehi, who heard the two-day application for Magashule’s reinstatement to his ANC job.

“He purports to suspend the president under false allegations,” Trengove told the court, saying that Magashule’s reference to a criminal case laid with the Hawks related to Ramaphosa’s campaign funding was “spurious and dishonest”.  “A full bench of the high court has held there was no evidence of criminality.”

Trengove also demolished one of Magashule’s key defences — that he had not been allowed to be heard (the Audi alteram partem rule in law, which is to be listened to to be heard).  “He got an ample hearing. He got more than a fair hearing,” said Trengove.

Magashule had had an opportunity to present his side of the story to the ANC Integrity Commission — he had been a co-architect of the guidelines developed on the step-aside rule as a member of the party’s powerful national executive committee, and he had been heard at a meeting at Ramaphosa’s home on 2 May.

He said the party’s step-aside rule was lawful and reasonable, while Magashule has argued that it is unconstitutional. “No organisation can have someone indicted on a serious charge be its public face. The purpose of the rule is to protect the party — it’s not a disciplinary rule.

“Not only was the employee afforded an opportunity to state his case but, extraordinary, he was part of the decision-making,” said Trengove. The advocate also said that Magashule’s defence that deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte did not have the right to suspend him was false.

He said that the party’s constitution said that the deputy would deputise and carry out instructions on behalf of the party’s NEC and its national working committee (NWC).  “It is an extraordinary argument,” said Trengove.

The hearing continues to the end of the day on 25 June and judgment is likely to be reserved.

Culled from DM