There is no crisis, says Zuma

African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma on Saturday condemned the media, some political parties, political analysts and academics for portraying that there was a crisis in the country following the transition that ushered in President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Speaking in Johannesburg at a South African Communist Party (SACP) policy conference, Zuma said the “so-called professionals” had a responsibility to inform and educate the public about the country’s constitutional democracy.

“The international community did not perceive it as a crisis because it is normal there for a party to recall its leaders. Professionals have not internationalised what democracy is,” Zuma said.

“Where is the crisis ... The crisis is in the head of these people.”

He said the ANC was a democratic organisation that fully understood constitutional democracy.

Zuma said the ANC would now work flat out to re-build the organisation in preparation for an overwhelming victory in next year’s elections.

He said: “There is no alternative to the ANC and no other party has a better programme or policies in terms of the socio-economic programme.”

Zuma said the recent events that led to South Africa getting a new president were now history. He said Motlanthe and his Cabinet must move forward and focus on service delivery and improving the lives of the people.

“It is now history. Motlanthe is the president of the Republic and the new Cabinet will take forward the vision of the ANC.”

He said the country had proved to the rest of the world that “it is stable and democratic”.

Zuma thanked the opposition parties in Parliament who put the country first by participating in the change of leadership.

He thanked former president Thabo Mbeki and described him as a true statesman.

“He made the transition smooth and was dignified by putting the country first above his personal interests,” Zuma said.

Court challenge
Meanwhile, South African prosecutors said on Friday they would appeal against a court ruling that dismissed a politically charged graft case against Jacob Zuma.

The judge’s suggestion of political interference in the case led to Mbeki’s resignation as South Africa’s leader this week and his replacement by Motlanthe on Thursday.

In a statement, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made clear it was not going to let the matter drop and would take its case to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

“The NPA will file its application for leave to appeal to the SCA next week,” the NPA, which has spearheaded a lengthy investigation of ANC leader Zuma, said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Judge Chris Nicholson in the Pietermaritzburg High Court tossed out fraud, bribery and other charges against Zuma and suggested that there had been high-level political meddling in the case.

Prosecutors announced they would appeal the ruling, infuriating Zuma’s supporters and helping trigger the party’s ouster of Mbeki last weekend. His removal sparked the nation’s worst crisis since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Zuma defeated Mbeki for the ANC leadership in a bitter contest late last year that divided the ruling party into two warring factions and raised investor fears of a change in the country’s pro-business policies.—Sapa, Reuters

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