ANC suspends Secretary General

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has suspended its Secretary General, Ace Magashule, in line with tougher rules for party officials charged with corruption, Eyewitness News and state broadcaster SABC reported on Wednesday.

Magashule faces corruption charges over a contract to audit homes with asbestos roofs when he was premier of the Free State province. He denies the charges against him.

The ANC said in a statement on Tuesday that its National Working Committee had reaffirmed an earlier decision that all members charged with corruption or other serious crimes must “step aside” from their posts within 30 days or face suspension.

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe had no immediate comment when called by Reuters on Wednesday.

Magashule is one of the ANC’s top six most powerful officials, in charge of the day-to-day running of the party that has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid. He is one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s main rivals.

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

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