South Africa: Fraser’s Edge – the Cheap and Easy Political Victory of Invoking ANC’s Step-Aside Rule Against Ramaphosa

Heinrich Böhmke is an investigator, trainer and consultant. He edited the African #PanamaPapers reports.

It is cheaper and quicker to implicate a rival in a crime and then invoke the step-aside rule than buying votes at an ANC conference. This disorganises rival slates and diverts energies into legal defence.

Parliament on 9 June 2022 saw opposition parties lambast President Cyril Ramaphosa for alleged wrongdoing connected to the disappearance of $4-million in cash concealed in furniture on his Phala Phala game farm.

What mainly motivates the excitement is the prospect that this issue may unseat the man supposed to lead his party into the 2024 general election. Because the ANC step-aside rule provides that a member who is a suspect in a criminal investigation must step aside from official duties. Ace Magashule’s removal from Luthuli House and Zweli Mkhize’s exit from Cabinet are two examples of this rule in action.

At first glance, the step-aside rule functions to save the face of the ANC when leaders are accused of private misdeeds. The governing party, after all, trades in trust and reputation. The ANC, now a 50% party, can ill afford further drops in popularity lest it lose access to power and…


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