S.Africa's ANC to probe top official Magashule for 'divisive behaviour'

FILE PHOTO: Ace Magashule, the secretary general of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, looks on as he appears in Bloemfontein high court in Free State province, South Africa, November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's governing African National Congress said it will look into the behaviour of its already suspended general secretary, Ace Magashule, after he and two other party members aimed veiled insults at ANC leaders last week.

Magashule, the administrative head of the ANC, making him one country's most powerful politicians, was forced to step down from his post earlier in May over charges of corruption. He has challenged the suspension in court.

On Tuesday the ANC said it was investigating possible breaches of conduct by Magashule after remarks he made last week following a court appearance by former President Jacob Zuma, to whom he is close.

The party's National Working Committee said it "condemned the unbecoming, divisive and defiant behaviour" of Magashule and was investigating "these breaches of discipline" in line with the ANC's constitution and code of conduct.

Magashule is seen as a leading political rival of President Cyril Ramaphosa, and his sidelining represents a big win for the reformist grouping in the party. Ramaphosa narrowly clinched control of the ANC in 2018 on a promise to root out corruption that critics said was rampant during Zuma's rule.

Magashule faces fraud and corruption charges over a contract to audit homes with asbestos roofs when he was premier of Free State province. He has denied the charges, calling the case flimsy. He was granted bail in November.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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