Durban - As the Jacob Zuma debacle continues to entangle the ANC, the ruling party in the province has warned that those who are calling for Zuma to be disciplined are jumping the gun.
The provincial structure also believes that should Zuma be eventually arrested for his refusal to appear before the Zondo commission, the implications for the whole ruling party would be immense.
This was expressed by Mdumiseni Ntuli, the provincial secretary of the ANC in KZN while briefing the media in Durban on Wednesday. The briefing was held a week after Ntuli met with Zuma to get his side of the story.
He said during their meeting, Zuma said he felt Zondo was out to get him. Among the issues he claimed was that Zondo used his “proximity to the” Constitutional Court to get an early day to have his matter ruled upon.
Talking first about the issue of Zuma being arrested, Ntuli said the ANC should be ready for some backlash and there are people within the ANC and outside who sympathize with Zuma. Some of those who sympathize with him have come out in the open while others are doing it quietly.
“If he gets arrested, it’s perfectly clear that society will be divided into two groups. There will be those who believe his arrest is a travesty of justice, others would be convinced that he deserves to be arrested because he violated the decision of the highest court in the land. That may not be an issued for him because ... he has been in prison for a period of ten years and this may be an arrest that is less than that. But the implications to the unity and the cohesion of the ANC are going to be profound,” Ntuli said.
The people Ntuli said are visiting Zuma is the leadership of the MKMVA (Umkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association). The national executive committee of the movement is today due in Nkandla to show their support for Zuma as they allege he is being persecuted.
Dealing with those who are calling for Zuma to be hauled over the coals by Luthuli House for his stance, Ntuli said the former president is no ordinary member of the ruling party and there would be challenges.
“We are not here talking about an ordinary chap, we are talking about the former president of the movement, a serving member of the national executive committee,” he added.
The stance by the ANC in KZN comes as a group of ANC eThekwini region branches have come out to express support for Zuma and the party’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, who they believe are being prosecuted for their stance on transformation.
On Thursday, about 100 members from various branches of the region gathered in Durban to outline their reasons behind backing Zuma and Magashule in the face of what they called politically motivated prosecution.
Mzomuhle Dube, a spokesperson for the group, said that those who were gunning for both Zuma and Magashule wanted to polarise, destabilise and burn down South Africa into ashes with the agenda is to weaken the ANC internally and collapse it into yet another failed liberation movement.
Dube is also the spokesperson for former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede.
“The persecution is set to discredit leaders and anyone who calls for economic transformation. The aim is to label leaders as thieves in order to maintain the status-quo that favours apartheid beneficiaries.
“Our 1994 democratic breakthrough, also known as a negotiated settlement, only gave us a right to vote every five years. We will stand with our leaders and the agenda of total liberation that includes economic emancipation,” Dube said.
He added that the attacks on Magashule had become particularly severe after his election as the party SG at its 54th national elective conference in December 2017, adding that these attacks were aimed at weakening the ANC internally.
“His questioning of the mandate of the Reserve bank has turned Ace into enemy number one of monopoly capital. His biggest sin was to repeat the ANC conference resolution on the Reserve Bank and challenge the untransformed economic structure of our country,” Dube said.