Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule will vacate his office as Free State premier and provincial ANC chairperson by March, he said during a press briefing in East London on Friday.
Magashule said he and Paul Mashatile – who was elected as ANC treasurer general in December – had to vacate their positions as chairs in their respective provinces, he said.
Mashatile is currently ANC chairperson in Gauteng and serves as MEC for human settlement. Both secretary general and treasurer general positions are full-time in the ANC.
In his statement on the party's state of readiness for the 106th birthday celebrations, Magashule said they both intended vacating these positions to allow for new elections.
"We will vacate our positions at the right time so that we hand over government, and we have agreed that, by the end of March, the financial year, we will vacate our positions as premiers and MEC."
Magashule, however, denied that this would cause further instability in the Free State.
The Free State provincial executive committee was declared unlawful after party members challenged its election in the Bloemfontein High Court in December. The ruling was made a day before the party was scheduled to elect its new national executive committee (NEC).
Magashule and the Free State provincial executive committee (PEC) are appealing the ruling.
Speaking to the media, Magashule said that the PECs in both KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State still stand.
"There is still a PEC of the Free State. KZN also appealed an execution order and, therefore, there is still a PEC. We will be engaging both provinces as national officials and I'm sure we want to engage and ensure that our members don't use the courts. The ANC this year will [be] resolving itself."
The KwaZulu-Natal PEC is also appealing a judgment which found its elective conference in 2015 which saw the rise of Sihle Zikalala as chairperson to be unlawful. The court dissolved the PEC until the outcome of the appeal.
During its December conference, the ANC resolved that members should first exhaust internal revenue processes before turning to the courts, or face disciplinary processes.