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11 Apr 2009 18:45
An election rally in honour of late freedom fighter Chris Hani on Saturday was turned into a day of mudslinging and political head bashing by the alliance partners of the African National Congress.
With less than two weeks before the election, the Young Communist League (YCL) national secretary Buti Manamela, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, and South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande used the opportunity to attack opposition leaders.
Topping their list was Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille, followed by Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, and Congress of the People leader Terror Lekota.
The alliance partners also took a swipe at former president Thabo Mbeki, as well as the media.
“Opposition parties want to win the election in court. We want to tell ugly Zille ...
we defeated Helen Suzman and we will defeat you,” said Manamela at the Fennin Stadium in Clermont, KwaZulu-Natal.
“You can go to court until you are blue, we do not care.
Manamela also likened Zille to a mosquito.
“Zille you dance like a mosquito when you go on stage but you will still not win. You can try to beautify yourself, but you are still ugly,” he said.
He was responding to Zille’s court application in the High Court in Pretoria for a review of the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop corruption charges against the ANC president.
Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew corruption charges against Zuma on Monday, saying the decision was based on flaws in the prosecution’s own process.
He cited extracts from transcripts of phone recordings as proof that former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy had taken political instructions on the timing of recharging Zuma in 2007. Former NPA chief Bulelani Ngquka was also quoted. Questions later arose about how Zuma’s lawyers ended up with the tapes. The charges against the president-in-waiting were formally withdrawn in the High Court in Durban on Tuesday.
Said Manamela: “We always said there was a conspiracy against JZ particularly by Thabo Mbeki. The conspiracy has been proven. Those responsible for the conspiracy for the last eight years are now asking questions”.
Manamela said they were not interested in where the tapes came from but who had conspired against Zuma.
He said he would not forgive the conspirators until they told the truth.
Also addressing the rally was Vavi, who told the crowd that people were trying to persecute an innocent man and that Zille’s attempts would fail.
“Who gave Zuma’s lawyers the tapes is not important. Why is that more important than the truth?” he asked.
“We know certain people we trusted in the state, abused their power to persecute a leader and their friend,” he said.
Vavi also asked the crowd why there has been no uproar against Ngquka or “the number one ... big man who connived with Robert Mugabe to persecute Zuma”.
Vavi also accused some media of colluding with Ngquka to bring down Zuma.
“They connived with the media. The media will learn a single lesson moving forward,” he said.
He claimed that when Ngquka had no evidence against Zuma, he convened an “off-the-record” meeting with black journalists and asked for their help to convict Zuma.
“And the media helped. They received brown envelopes day in and day out. The journalists slowly allowed themselves to be sucked into factionalism,” he said.
Vavi stressed that the media should be independent and not take sides.
Attending the rally in their bright red SACP T-shirts, groups of people from the 7 000 strong crowd danced and toyi-toyed while waiting for their leaders to address them.
Another man held a two litre bottle with a live snake inside and likened it to Ngquka.
“That’s how he [Ngquka] is going to end up,” the man screamed at journalists nearby.
Other high profile speakers were Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini.
“Do it for Chris Hani - Vote ANC,” Nzimande told the crowd.
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