President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the events of the past few days in the lead up to the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma as a concerted attempt to destabilise the ANC in its bid to root out corruption.
Ramaphosa said this during his political overview at this weekend’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting.
He described the imprisonment of the ANC’s former president as a sad moment in the history of the movement.
Ramaphosa has remained silent about Zuma’s defiance of the constitutional court’s order that he submit himself to the police to serve a 15-month sentence for contempt of court.
The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday how the police finally managed to persuade a reluctant Zuma to report to the Estcourt Correctional Centre on Wednesday night.
This weekend’s NEC meeting comes as the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal struggles to maintain order as Zuma supporters allegedly barricade roads, torch trucks and loot in protests against his incarceration.
The provincial executive committee led by Sihle Zikalala will apparently convene an urgent meeting this weekend to find ways to calm people down.
In his address, Ramaphosa said the ANC needed to be sensitive to the hurt that many in the party feel, but added that this should not keep the ANC from advancing its stance to respect the Constitution and the rule of law.
“We have also seen progress in our various attempts at rooting out corruption and ill-discipline within our ranks and also beginning the process, difficult as it is in, of tackling factionalism. The events of the last two weeks have shown the difficulty of this task. It does not happen in a linear fashion, there are lots of detours.
“We have witnessed concerted attempts to sow division in our ranks and destabilise our organisation by forces intent on pursuing narrow interests. These forces, both within our ranks and outside our movement, are threatened by the process of renewal and rebuilding,” he added.
Proposing the party establish a renewal commission, the president said that party leaders and their families needed to be audited to help curb corruption.
He said the party is dealing with the step-aside resolution, but it must also deal with the perception of its integrity.
The NEC will apparently also discuss charges to be brought against suspended secretary general Ace Magashule. These charges, which could include misconduct and bringing the party into disrepute, could see Magashule being expelled from the party.
Calls for this to happen are likely to be boosted by this week’s high court ruling, in which Magashule’s application to challenge the constitutionality of the step-aside resolution was dismissed.
One of Magashule’s most loyal supporters, Carl Niehaus, the spokesperson for the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association, was on Thursday issued with a suspension letter by the deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte for bringing the party into disrepute.
Niehaus is also facing disciplinary proceedings.
These charges relate to a media briefing he convened at Zuma’s house in Nkandla during which he said MKMVA members would form a human chain to prevent Zuma from being arrested.
“The threat of violence aimed at undermining our democracy and its core institutions is counter-revolutionary, akin to similar displays and acts by extreme right-wing elements,” Duarte said.