President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward faces a fresh charge of bringing the ANC into disrepute for heckling former finance minister Pravin Gordhan at a Gandhi memorial event in Pietermaritzburg last weekend.
Edward Zuma, accompanied by several ANC members, disrupted Gordhan’s address to the meeting, holding placards and trying to shout him down.
Zuma called Gordhan a “liar” and a “sell-out”, who had “sold the country to the white men in Stellenbosch”.
“You are lying to these people,” Edward shouted. “You are deceiving them. You are telling them a lie.”
Gordhan continued with his speech despite the heckling.
Mdumiseni Ntuli, spokesperson for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, said the party had requested a report on the incident, which was being “processed”. Asked if the party intended to charge Zuma, who last month attacked Gordhan and other ANC MPs in an open letter laden with insults, Ntuli said: “We have that intention.”
Zuma avoided disciplinary charges by retracting the attacks in the open letter. In it he called Gordhan and former tourism minister Derek Hanekom agents of white minority capital and askaris.
Zuma described Hanekom, who had in November last year initiated a motion of no confidence in his father, as a “white monopoly capitalist offspring and an Afrikaner racist”. Zuma referred to Gordhan as a “corrupt white monopoly stooge”.
“This privileged boy from Sastri College shows us that he would defend whites and their appointed crumb eaters‚ the White Monopoly Capital Indunas‚ the black parasitical political stooges at all costs‚” he wrote.
Gordhan and Hanekom were fired by the president in a Cabinet reshuffle in March.
Despite defending his comments in media interviews, Zuma apologised just before the deadline set by the ANC for him to do so expired.
Zuma is not off the hook over the written tirade; the South African Human Rights Commission has begun proceedings to charge him with hate speech in the Equality Court.
The commission had also decided to charge him for his comments in the media in response to criticisms of his open letter by the commission on August 1.
Spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said the charge against Zuma was being discussed by the commission.
Despite attempts to contact him, Zuma did not respond to calls for comment.
Meanwhile, the Hawks have responded with concern to claims in another open letter to Gordhan, this time by Duduzani Zuma, another of the president’s sons, that he had been cleared of any Hawks investigations.
Spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “Nobody has been cleared by us. The NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] is responsible for that. We are perturbed as to where this information is coming from. We put it back to him and say he must prove this to the former minister [Gordhan] and say where that information is coming from.”