ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma could soon be hauled before the ANC inquiry set up to probe the alleged role of ANC leaders in the formation of smaller parties ahead of the recent general elections.
On Wednesday, Luthuli House confirmed that a special committee, led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and former speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala, had been set up to investigate the allegations.
Magashule and Zuma have been accused of having assisted and endorsed the formation of the African Transformation Movement (ATM) which secured two seats in the National Assembly.
In the terms of reference, seen by Independent Media, the Motlanthe inquiry is directed to “investigate, inquire into and determine the veracity of the allegations that members of the ANC were involved in the formation and/or mobilised support for some of the smaller parties, purportedly to reduce the ANC’s majority in the 2019 general elections”.
The Motlanthe inquiry has also been empowered to recommend disciplinary action for misconduct against any ANC member should prima facie evidence exist in relation to the allegations against them.
The allegations against Magashule and Zuma were made by Buyisile Ngqulana, the former secretary-general of the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ (SACMCC), the faith body that helped form the ATM, in his damning affidavit, which he filed in his bid to push for the deregistration of the ATM.
Ngqulana said he had first met Zuma on several occasions between February and May last year, and Zuma encouraged the SACMCC’s plan to form a political wing of the church.
“He said this was good as it would create an alternative and he said we should get in touch with the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
“We wrote to him and we visited him at Luthuli House where he also supported the formation of the ATM.
“We soon realised that the vision of the faith body was being hijacked for other political motives,” Ngqulana said.
He said while he was ready to testify against Magashule and Zuma, he was concerned about his safety.
“Ever since I started this, there have been attempts on my life and threats, including from the ATM, and I am in place of safety as we speak. I have not been approached yet, but I would consider it,”Ngqulana said.
Those implicated or appearing in the proceedings of the probe, which will be held in camera, will not be permitted to use legal representation, which is set to force them to appear in person when they are summoned.
The terms of reference have also outlined that evidence admitted by the probe would include documents, affidavits, videos, sound recordings and oral testimony.
“Subject to the principles of natural justice, the rules of evidence applicable in a court of law need not be strictly applied to the determination of the admissibility of evidence,” the terms of reference read.
The inquiry is directed to inform implicated ANC members within a reasonable time after implication and provide them with transcripts of evidence led against them.
Implicated parties will also be allowed to cross-examine witnesses, who will be required to take an oath or affirmation before their testimony.
Magashule could not be reached by the time of going to print, while Zuma’s spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, did not respond to questions.
ATM national spokesperson Sizwe Richard rejected allegations that Zuma and Magashule had a hand in forming his party.
“Let Ngqulwana go to the inquiry and present the evidence he has. We are not deterred by the allegations and we don’t even know where they come from. These claims even badly affected our election campaign,” Richard said.