Ex political prisoners slam 'wannabe despots' who want Zuma gone

As the crescendo of voices are growing in the debate over whether President Jacob Zuma should stay or go, an association of former political prisoners have come out in support of him.

The statement, by the Ex-Political Prisoners Association, follows hot on the heels of a declaration by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba in Cape Town that struggle veterans criticising Zuma were ill-disciplined.

There have been growing calls from outside the ANC but also from stalwarts within the party for Zuma to resign following a Constitutional Court ruling that found he failed to uphold the Constitution with regards to the public protector’s findings about the non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home.

The association’s deputy national secretary Mpho Masemola said in the press release that those who wanted Zuma to resign were “regime changers and wannabe despots”.

He said the association was once headed by struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, who was one of the first to publicly ask for Zuma’s resignation.

But he said Kathrada’s statements about Zuma stepping down “do not belong to the Kathrada we know”.

Masemola said they would meet with Kathrada “to seek clarity”, seeing that he hasn’t raised this issue with them before.

Masemola also appealed to church leaders “to follow their own doctrine of accepting apologies”. Various churches have come out against Zuma.

He said the association’s members would “defend the revolutionary gains we have achieved with all we have, our lives included”.

He added: “We need to root out those who serve foreign masters, who are not pro-poor, pro-economic transformation, pro-constitutional democracy and pro-order, pro-discipline, pro-respect, pro-dignity.”

Masemola called for the exposure of “counter-revolutionary wolves masquerading as saviours to our democracy.  They are nothing but veteran counter-revolutionaries mouthing the poison of their evil masters,” he said.

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