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South Africa

PRE-PRISON DIARIES

ANC set to thrash out the defiance of an ‘uninvited’ Zuma at NEC meetings this week

Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma gather outside his Nkandla homestead on Saturday, 3 July 2021. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

ANC leaders will hold a one-day special national executive committee meeting on Monday to talk about their weekend. Former president and convicted court-order-dodger Jacob Zuma, the man who caused the original weekend meeting to be postponed, has not been invited.

There seems to be no doubt in former president Jacob Zuma’s mind that he will attend this week’s ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting, although he knows it’s going to be complicated. 

“It’s none of your business,” he told Daily Maverick’s Leila Dougan when she asked him if he was planning to attend this week’s meeting. He laughed and added: “No, absolutely, I don’t understand, I’m an NEC member. It depends on whether I go, if there is anything. That’s why I’m asking you the question, ‘is that your business’?” 

The ANC has scheduled a special NEC meeting for Monday, 5 July, and will have its ordinary one on the coming weekend after its meeting over the past weekend was postponed. This was to free its leaders to prevent all hell from breaking loose in KwaZulu-Natal before the deadline for Zuma to report to the police to begin his prison sentence.

Zuma, who was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of the Constitutional Court, was not invited, a party insider said. “We can’t be seen to be indifferent to the laws of the republic,” he said. At its 2017 Nasrec conference the ANC resolved that leaders facing criminal charges should step aside from their positions.

Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma at Nkandla. Zuma will seek to stay the implementation of the order for his arrest. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Despite his corruption trial resuming in recent months, Zuma has been participating in NEC meetings as an ex officio member, unlike suspended Secretary-General Ace Magashule, whose corruption charges mean that he is barred from attending NEC meetings. 

“It was a mistake not to proceed with the NEC [over the weekend],” an NEC member said. Although he didn’t elaborate, it is apparent that the postponement of the meeting gave Zuma a powerful platform to have his say. He addressed both his supporters and the media on Sunday. 

The postponement of the meeting also gave the impression that Zuma’s Constitutional Court problem was also the party’s problem. That suits Zuma, because he still continues to portray himself as more authentically ANC than the current leadership. 

It also suits him to fight this issue on a party political level, where he still stands a chance of escaping prison, rather than in the courts, where his Stalingrad tactics of almost two decades are reaching their limits. The  15-month jail sentence has forced him to do what he initially tried to avoid — subject himself to the Constitutional Court in a legally unprecedented move and in an attempt to escape arrest. 

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told the Sunday Times that the party could not get involved in the Constitutional Court ruling. “Once the ANC interferes with the processes of the courts then we will create an unsustainable precedent,” he said, adding that the courts needed to maintain their independence.

Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma, who was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of the Constitutional Court. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Still, the party’s NEC is likely to debate the implications of the judgment, and how best to get Zuma to comply with it. Several NEC members, such as Police Minister Bheki Cele, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who is on special leave, and Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma were in KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend in an attempt to ensure that Zuma’s supporters didn’t get out of hand. 

Human Settlements, Sanitation and Water Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and NEC member and head of the party’s subcommittee on peace and safety, Tony Yengeni, met Zuma on Sunday and it was reported that the provincial leadership also saw him, but it’s unclear if ANC leaders met him in substantial numbers. 

Zuma told journalists he would not reach out to the NEC. “Why should I meet them? Why should they not meet me? I’m not the cause of this problem. You are now asking me to respond as if I’m now responsible to sentence Jacob Zuma to 15 months in jail without even appealing,” he said.

Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma in action in Nkandla. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Magashule, too, was on the stage in front of Zuma’s Nkandla home on Sunday alongside Zuma and the architects of his latest Constitutional Court bid, Dali Mpofu SC, and Thabani Masuku SC.

Magashule addressed the crowd — according to lockdown Level 4 regulations, it was an illegal assembly — as if he were still the party’s secretary-general. He was defying, for at least the third time, his conditions of suspension, which prohibit him from speaking on behalf of the ANC.

Magashule’s recent actions could lead to his expulsion from the party — this time without pay — as disciplinary charges are already being prepared, an insider said. Magashule recently addressed the crowd from a stage outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court after one of Zuma’s appearances and he greeted supporters outside the Johannesburg High Court at the end of June before his court case against the ANC over his suspension. 

Magashule told the crowd at Nkandla, many of whom were wearing ANC regalia, to defy the party’s leadership. “When they disband you as a branch, you must still be a branch,” he said. “When they expel you as a member, you must remain a member because you were elected. You must not go anywhere.” He also told the crowd to listen only to him and his allies. 

These utterances are likely, too, to feature on the NEC’s agenda this week. DM

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All Comments 14

  • What was Lindiwe Sisulu doing there? Is she not a member of the cabinet? Sends out a very ominous message to the President.

  • The Gathering of Thieves. What an opportunity missed to take out your opposition Communist style Ramaphosa. Stalin ir Mao would have that lot buried already.

  • “We can’t be seen to be indifferent to the laws of the republic,” – perception is more important? Surely should be “We can’t be indifferent to the laws of the republic,”

  • The fact that the suspended Zweli Mkhize is sent their in an official capacity – while suspended – tells us all we need to know.

    • Yes, anyone there to support JZ is showing their own guilt!
      CR needs to take the reins , there is too much brewing with these festering supporters !

  • Get the champagne out – a party split is on the cards if Ace is given the boot and probably Zuma too. It is cold out there when you get off the ANC gravy train.

  • Zuma has been found guilty and sentenced and therefore can be suspended from all ANC positions and events – whether ex-officio or not.

  • I remember a few years ago seeing a live broadcast of Lady Lindiwe Sisulu standing in Parliament screaming her head off defending Zuma during one of the impeachment debates. She could not have been trying harder to paint him as a great morale leader. What a circus of clowns. She and the rest of the ANC defenders (and participants) of corruption are all to blame for the poor current state of affairs. Any blood, deaths and devastation are the making of the ANC’s inaction to deal with their member’s corruption going back years to Travelgate and onwards. It will be on their hands and heads – especially the narcissistic sociopath Zuma.

  • This is political war. Let the two factions split. It is long overdue. That’s what is supposed to happen in a democracy. You stand up for what you believe in, set out your policies and let the voters choose. We either have the stomach for real democracy, or we are too scared. Each party should keep ANC in their respective names such that neither gets what would be a clear Brand recognition advantage at the voting booth. ( For example, ANC Socialists’ and ANC Communists). The voters might actually have to think about why they are voting. The politicians might actually have to persuade a voter to support them based on policy and action promised. A changed political landscape where delivery might mean something as we would not have one dominant party, and politicians would be voted out for poor performance, being corrupt, or other unacceptable conduct etc. It would also hopefully remove, bring to an end the ANC self regulating communist nonsense, and the electoral system would function as it is supposed to. If we have learned one lesson in the last 15 years of atrocious Government let it be that our democracy has failed us. Let’s get it back and make it work!

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