ANC suspends MP gunning for Ramaphosa

Johannesburg – The ANC in Parliament has suspended a party MP who is pushing for President Cyril Ramaphosa to account for his comments on the funding of the party’s leadership campaigns in 2017.

In a leaked audio recording, Ramaphosa is heard saying that he would rather fall on his sword instead of revealing that public funds were used to sponsor campaigns for some of the candidates in the run up to the ANC’s 2017 elective conference.

“One of the officials said as these people from the state security (agency) testify (at the state capture commission), one of the officials said soon they will be revealing about how money was used for some campaigns, and I said I would rather they say you got money from this business for CR17 than for the public to finally hear that their public money was used to advance certain campaigns,” he said during a meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC).

Last week, ANC MP Mervyn Dirks wrote to Parliament finance watchdog, Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), calling for the body to summon Ramaphosa to explain his comments.

Dirks argued in his letter to Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa that Ramaphosa’s admission that state funds were used in ANC campaigns and his failure to disclose the information before the Zondo Commission into state capture would make the final report of the commission questionable.

Dirks has since defied ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina’s instruction that he withdraws the complaint to Scopa, prompting the party to suspend him for “unbecoming conduct”.

“This serves to notify you of the intention of the Office of the Chief Whip to initiate disciplinary proceedings against you. This follows your conduct unbecoming of a whip of the ANC Parliamentary caucus, a position of leadership in the ANC caucus,” the letter, dated 20 January, states.

“This further serves to notify you of the intention of the office of the chief whip to place you on precautionary suspension with immediate effect in order for the necessary investigations to take place,” it added.

Dirks was relieved of his duties as the whip of the ANC SCOPA study group and as the questions whip of the ANC Parliamentary caucus and his membership of SCOPA was withdrawn.

“Further details will be provided to you within the next seven (7) working days in order for you to prepare appropriately for the contemplated proceedings,” Majodina said.

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George Matlala

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