Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login.

Zuma sings RET praises, calls on branches to act on group’s ‘purge’

Former president Jacob Zuma has made good on his promise to ANC secretary general Ace Magashule to help him mobilise support in KwaZulu-Natal against the step-aside resolution.

Zuma on Thursday spoke in Durban at a political event held in his honour after many weeks of silent retreat in his Nkandla home. 

He spoke against what he said was the national executive committee’s (NEC) recent decision to purge the “radical economic transformation (RET)” grouping and asked ANC branches to hold the party’s leaders to account. 

“There is a resolution called RET that we took at the Nasrec conference. The ANC, the people who love it and those that are the [RET] force, are now being purged. These are the people popularising the resolution but the ANC says ‘no, let’s kick them out’. How are the branches quiet?” Zuma told South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) members. 

He also called on the alliance partners and the party’s youth structures to hold the NEC to account.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said ANC members should not associate themselves with or be involved in the RET grouping. 

ANC leaders have called the group a splinter of the ANC working from Magashule’s office. Eastern Cape secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi said the RET grouping was not just another faction in the ANC but would, like the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Congress of the People, emerge to take on the ruling party at the polls. 

Fury over the grouping intensified when uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus, who also works in Magashule’s office, wrote a manifesto, called Radical Economic Transformation: a Basic Document, with the subtitle, Unpacking RET in Alignment to the Freedom Charter. The document calls for the party to return to its socialist ideological orientation, stating that there cannot be organisational renewal without a recommitment to that approach.

Zuma, who sang the grouping’s praises on Thursday, said branches had been given the NEC resolutions to implement. “How can we say we are effective branches if we don’t hold the leadership to account. It’s branches who have put them there. Branches do not use their powers. We elect someone to lead us and he ends up controlling us.” 

Zuma then added: “People have been taught the love of money. People just drop bags of money for votes. Comrades, don’t vote to advance the ANC anymore.” 

The Mail & Guardian this week reported how Magashule, as he ran out of options against the step-aside resolution, had visited his most senior ally, Zuma, to ask for help in mobilising support, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, after the secretary general failed to galvanise branches and provinces.

Magashule and others charged in the courts were given 30 days to step aside from their party positions or face suspension from the ANC. Magashule has no intention of following the NEC’s directive, sources close to him told the M&G.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

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

Related stories


Subscribers only

Khoikhoi versus US giant Amazon

The controversial River Club development gets the go-ahead, but opponents say they are heading for court

SIU moves on eThekwini housing scam

The developer allegedly secured illegal funding from the housing regulatory authority

More top stories

Why South Africa stopped making vaccines

The high demand for Covid vaccines means there is a limited global supply. Local manufacturing is one solution. So why isn’t South Africa making its own jabs?

‘He can’t just write letters out of anger’: Mantashe reacts...

That is not how decisions are made in an organisation, the party’s national chairperson warns as Magashule sends suspension letter to Ramaphosa

Hlophe’s attorney found in contempt of court

The high court said Barnabas Xulu acted with impunity and contempt in the saga of getting him to repay millions in state funds

Aced: ANC secretary general suspended from the party for the...

Magashule is barred from carrying out his tasks and cannot talk on behalf of the party

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…