South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that the secretary-general of the ruling African National Congress, Ace Magashule, faces further disciplinary action for a retaliatory attack against him following his suspension.
Ramaphosa on Monday said Magashule had to apologize publicly “within a set timeframe” or face unspecified “disciplinary procedures” in accordance with ANC rules.
Last week, the ANC suspended Magashule as the party cracked the whip on members charged with corruption and other serious crimes.
Magashule is the most high-profile politician to be charged with corruption since former president Jacob Zuma, who is awaiting trial over an arms deal. He has denied the charges against him claiming that he was the victim of unfair treatment.
Magashule, one of Ramaphosa’s main rivals within the ANC, subsequently instituted a failed attempt to also have Ramaphosa suspended arguing that he had the power to do so.
Ramaphosa told the ANC’s national executive that Magashule had no mandate to suspend him adding that the deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, would fill the role in Magashule’s absence.
According to a close aide, Magashule, who is yet to respond to Ramaphosa’s comments, maintains he would not apologize because he is confident what he did was legally right.
Ramaphosa has staked his reputation on cleaning up the ANC’s image and cracking down on corruption, but his opponents accuse him of using the crackdown to sideline them.
The public dispute between the two has exposed an increasingly open power struggle in the governing party ahead of a leadership contest next year in which Ramaphosa is expected to seek re-election.