“Let’s investigate, let us not rely on allegations and let comrades have an opportunity to clear their names,” said Nompondo.

The ANC in the Free State has called on its members in the province to take a stand against what it calls “perpetual attacks” on the stature of ANC national secretary-general (SG), Ace Magashule, despite the man himself confirming the party’s investigation into his alleged involvement in the formation of a rival party.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) was launched in 2018, with former government communications and information services head, Mzwanele Manyi, later joining as policy head.

During a media briefing at the party’s headquarters of the Kaizer Sebothelo Building in Bloemfontein yesterday, provincial SG Paseka Nompondo said it had become abundantly clear that there was a movement against Magashule by people with ulterior motives.

This despite confirmation that the former president and SG of the party, Kgalema Motlanthe, will lead the investigations against Magashule, Jacob Zuma and others whose identities are not yet known, for the alleged involvement in the formation of the ATM.

“Let’s investigate, let us not rely on allegations and let comrades have an opportunity to clear their names,” said Nompondo.

He said the investigation into the formation of ATM must not be made to be about Magashule, because he could assure South Africans the man is not a traitor.

Nompondo said Magashule’s detractors sought to politically assassinate his character and undermine the office of the SG of the party.

He said Magashule remains a loyal member of the party and therefore could not have been involved in the formation of other organisations, arguing that footsteps can be traced back to him as a young person involved in the ANC during the struggle.

The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) also came out in defence of Magashule on Tuesday. ANCWL secretary-general Meokgo Matuba asked for processes to be allowed.

“Let’s not assume the SG [Magashule] is guilty,” she said.

In a statement released by the ANC and signed by Magashule himself, the party confirmed that its national working committee resolved at its meeting on Monday to establish an independent team to investigate the allegations against Magashule and others.

The team will comprise Motlanthe, Dr Frene Ginwala and Advocate Fezeka Magano.

The terms of reference are to “inquire into and determine the veracity of the allegations that members of the ANC were involved in the formation of and/or mobilised support for some of the smaller political parties, purportedly to reduce the ANC’s majority in the 2019 general election.

“The investigating team will have the power to hear evidence of witnesses, call witnesses, and call for the production of documents it deems relevant to its mandate.”

It will further be tasked with “making findings against any member of the ANC after evaluating all the evidence and, if prima facie evidence exists, include recommendations that disciplinary action be instituted against such member for contravening Rule 25 of the ANC constitution pertaining to misconduct”.

Legal representation will not be permitted, but a party member implicated by a witness or evidence will be granted the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.

The team must complete its investigation and submit their findings to Magashule within 60 days, but the time frame may be extended if warranted.

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“Let’s investigate, let us not rely on allegations and let comrades have an opportunity to clear their names,” said Nompondo. The ANC in the Free State has called on its members in the province to take a stand against what it calls “perpetual attacks” on the stature of ANC national secretary-general (SG),...