The suspension of Jacob Zuma’s ANC membership is not being considered, said President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa said he was confident that his predecessor will change his mind about his intended defiance of the Constitutional Court ruling that he must testify at the Zondo commission into state capture.
Speaking to the media while visiting Soweto to pay respects to struggle stalwart Rebecca Kotane‘s family, Ramaphosa said he believed Zuma would be counselled into making the right decision.
Zuma wrote to the commission informing it that he was willing to go to jail rather than set foot in the commission. He took this stance after walking out of the commission when Commission chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo rejected his application for his recusal. Zondo then approached the Constitutional Court, which ruled that he had to testify.
Ramaphosa said Zuma must be given time to consider the counsel he was receiving from various political leaders.
On Friday, Julius Malema and Zuma met in what is believed to be an attempt by the Economic Freedom Fighters leader to get Zuma to reconsider his intended defiance of the apex court judgment.
Zuma and Malema have an interesting history that dates back to Malema’s time as the ANC Youth League leader and an ally of the former president.
Malema was later expelled from the youth league when relations soured between the two, which led to the formation of the EFF.
Ramaphosa said: “This is a matter that I am sure he is going to give much more thought to because he is being counselled by a number of people and a number of organisations that the Constitutional structure that he contributed so much to needs to be given so much consideration.
“I’m sure in his own mind, his own time, he will think about all this. I would like to say, let’s give former president Jacob Zuma time and space to think about this and also to hear what other people say.”
The Mail & Guardian previously reported that provincial secretaries were urging the ANC’s top six, in particular secretary general Ace Magashule, to advise Zuma to appear before the commission from 15 to 19 February.
But Magashule came to Zuma’s defence this week, saying, “Leave president Zuma alone. Just leave him. What has Zuma done?”
The Eastern Cape was hasher, saying Zuma’s ANC membership should be suspended or that he should have a disciplinary hearing.
Ramaphosa said the top officials had not yet discussed the matter. He disagreed with the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee’s view, saying: “That is really preempting something that is not … something that’s in consideration right now.”
Ramaphosa also responded to questions about charges that have been laid against him by an ANC member .
The Hawks earlier confirmed that charges of fraud, theft and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act against Ramaphosa were being investigated.
The charges arise from former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe‘s testimony at the Zondo commission that Ramaphosa used his political influence as the deputy president and as head of the Eskom war room to have mining giant Glencoe benefit from the power utility’s coal contracts.
Ramaphosa said he was confident that no evidence against him would be gathered.
“These things happen, and anybody can go to a police station and lay a charge. In the end, it really depends on whether they have evidence. I remain confident that whatever they are launching, there is no real evidence,” he said.