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ANC provinces weigh in on defiant former president

The majority of the ANC provinces have said the top six must engage former president Jacob Zuma. 

This, after the former statesman, openly said he would defy the Constitutional Court judgement to appear before the state capture commission. 

The Mail & Guardian spoke to five ANC provincial secretaries as well as the SACP secretary on the back of the Eastern Cape resolution that the national executive committee (NEC) should consider subjecting Zuma to a disciplinary hearing or suspend his membership.  

Zuma has largely been chastised following his announcement that he is willing to go to jail or face incarceration before appearing at the state capture commission. 

On Wednesday the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, a well known Zuma ally came to his defence telling journalists Zuma had done nothing wrong and that the media was “not to worry about the constitution”. 

However speaking to the M&G later in the day, Magashule said Zuma, like any other South African, has rights adding that he did not want to engage the Constitutional Court ruling. 

“We respect president Zuma as a former president of the country and the ANC. As South African people we have views, and in the context of South African democracy, even judges can be criticised. Differing with judges doesn’t mean you don’t respect the constitution,” Magashule said.  

He is however facing his own troubles as the ANC will debate whether or not he should step aside during the party’s scheduled NEC meeting in two weeks. He has 21 charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering hanging over him as he is set to appear before the Bloemfontein courts this month. 

The ANC’s headquarters at Luthuli House has remained mum on Zuma’s clear defiance of the ConCourt judgment until now.
While the ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has gone on a media tour explaining that the ANC will only deal with the matter once the NEC sits on 13 February, some party provinces have called for Zuma to be persuaded and engaged by the top officials. 

KwaZulu Natal party secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said there was concern within the province on Zuma’s utterances against the state capture commission. 

Ntuli who presides over Zuma’s home province where the former statesman still enjoys popularity said it was Magashule’s responsibility to talk to Zuma. 

“My view is that the Eastern Cape is rushing to appropriate to themselves the responsibility that belongs to the national leadership. Many of us are very concerned about the public statements and that concern is not only shared by us but should be shared by the entire NEC. As for provinces calling for Zuma’s suspension, that is populist,” Ntuli said. 

Gauteng secretary Jacob Khawe said the province wished to engage Zuma on his feelings of being mistreated by the state capture commission. 

Gauteng ANC which is due to hold its lekgotla this weekend had invited all three former presidents Kgalema Montlathe, Thabo Mbeki and Zuma, he said. 

“In the interest of Constitutional democracy, we want to urge him to appear before the commission and it must expose everybody. We want to listen to him, why he thinks he has been targeted. It is in the interest of the country that he makes an appearance. If he makes an appearance with all his rights protected, the country would understand why he thinks the commission should do more” Khawe added. 

Free State secretary Paseka Nompondo they would want to know why Zuma thinks he is being treated unfairly and the provincial structures would not rush to ask for him to be disciplined.
SACP deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila told M&G that Zuma’s defiance sent a wrong message to the country on the weight of the judiciary and rule of law. 

“It’s a very dangerous terrain that he is entering into. He is throwing the gauntlet because of his perceived support. It’s clear he wants to disrupt the legal fraternity,” Mapaila said, praising the judiciary for its patience on the former president. 

Mpumalanga acting ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu said the province would engage the national leadership on the matter lambasting the Eastern Cape for putting their views in the media. 

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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