South Africa


As its plans fall apart, the RET faction takes to gospel TV to plead for clemency for Zuma 

Carl Niehaus talks about the demands of the #FreeJacobZuma campaign on Friday, 16 July 2021. (Photo: still/LoveWorldSat)

Carl Niehaus and other rag-tag members of the RET faction try a last-gasp campaign to free Zuma, while spymaster Thulani Dlomo claims he is helping the government  

The so-called RET faction of the ANC took to gospel television on July 16 to make a last-gasp plea for clemency for still-jailed former president Jacob Zuma as the violent and chaotic campaign to free him backfired.

After a week of violence, anarchy, and looting, South Africa began to mop up and count the costs of the body-blow dealt with the country by what is likely to be disgruntled ANC leaders and former members of the intelligence and branch members who fomented the campaign. 

The mood has turned against Zuma who initially enjoyed public sympathy, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, after being jailed on July 7. But the violence and looting, of which the organisers lost control, has taken attention away from the fact that he remains in jail in Estcourt 10 days after being sent there.  His supporters told the Mail & Guardian that the industrial-scale looting took them by surprise.

Phapano phasha reads the demands of #FreeJacobZuma campaign on Friday, 16 July 2021. (Photo: still/LoveWorldSat)

The so-called RET faction of the ANC, which was formed by leaders like suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and suspended former Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association spokesman Carl Niehaus, among others, is now on the backfoot as it becomes increasingly clear that the attempted insurrection may have been plotted within its ranks.  Timeslive and the Mail & Guardian have named ANC members, who allegedly plotted the violence in Durban on WhatsApp in chat-groups, being investigated by police criminal intelligence and the State Security Agency.  

Now on the defensive, its tactics exposed, the RET faction took to Love World, a streaming multinational gospel channel owned by Nigerian pastor Chris Oyakhilome, to get themselves and Zuma back on the news agenda.  While he did not appear at the televised press conference, ANC member Phapano Phasha said that Magashule was listening in and invited him to speak. He did not. Phasha is closely associated with Zuma and the RET campaign; she led his support team at his first appearance at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

She said that Zuma’s jailing lit the powder keg and added that “Only a free president Zuma can address our nation and call for calm”. She added that if he were released, he could intervene to calm the country. In fact, the country is now regarded as stable after the most challenging unrest in recent history. 

Niehaus’s mood changed from threatening to pleading as the press conference progressed. “All of us agree it would be possible for President Ramaphosa to have President Zuma released immediately,” said Niehaus.  

Asked if he would grant Zuma a presidential pardon, President Cyril Ramaphosa was non-committal on his whistle-stop tour of parts of Durban on July 16. “Yes, our provincial leadership has been suggesting we should look at a variety of measures of dealing with the difficult situation where the court has made a ruling. And President Jacob Zuma must be credited and applauded for having complied with what the court ruled. We are giving consideration to all the issues and proposals put forward to us, and until then, let’s leave the matter where it is,” said Ramaphosa.  

Both the KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala and the eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda oppose his jailing and have said Zuma should be given a presidential pardon. Ramaphosa has shown no sign of buckling to the pressure, while Zuma is back in court on Monday, July 19, on arms deal corruption-related charges. 

In a further sign of retreat, Zuma’s spymaster Thulani Dlomo who ran a sprawling private intelligence operation for the head of state when he was in the Union Buildings, emerged from hiding to deny he was complicit in planning the campaign of violence which took out key infrastructure.  Speaking to IOL, Dlomo claimed that he had, in fact, been asked to assist the government in dousing the flames. He did not say who had asked him. 

Niehaus and Phasha headlined the press conference on behalf of 17 members of the #FreeJacobZuma campaign. Niehaus said it had many more supporters and said they all opposed violence.

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association chairman Kebby Maphatsoe, 2014, Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

The former head of MKMVA, also penned a publicly released letter to Luthuli House, on the letterhead of the now disbanded organisation, criticising statements by Deputy Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa who said they were investigating whether former MK and MKMVA members had been part of the wave of violence and looting. 

The ANC has suspended all the key leaders of the RET campaign. DM



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Mark says:

    “The ANC has suspended all the key leaders of the RET campaign.” Long overdue, but rather late than never.

    And Carl, go suck a lemon you useless tard.

    • David Mitchell says:

      I see, like me you’re also a big fan of Carl

      • ryanvanheerden says:

        What a pathetic embarrassment. Carl Niehaus is like a leach sucking on a dead corpse in desperation. An entire generations future stolen by his beloved thieving Zuma and accolytes

      • Alan Mitchell says:

        He is an extreme embarasment to the country, tolerated within the ANC for years solely because of his affiliation to his esteemed ex leader the supreme looter thug !
        He has had no positive influence on anyone in his whole life. Looking at his photo here on DM all I see is evil.

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    Greedy, grasping, Jacob Zuma has brought once proud South Africa to its bloody knees. Clemency – no! Presidential pardon – never! Please don’t buckle Cyril Ramaphosa.

    • Kirsty Hämmerle says:

      Hear hear!!

      • Johann Olivier says:

        Not so sure South Africa was ONCE proud, but it certainly did not need Zuma & his cabal of thiefs. (Bloody South Africa bought to its tattered knees?) They have plunged the country into a state of penury & misery. NO clemency. The buck stops now. Here. Please. Crisis brings opportunity.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Grow a set of balls Cyril and arrest all these people before they regroup.

    • Hiram C Potts says:

      Agree, and what will it take for Ramaphosa to stop pandering to Zuma?
      To quote Ramaphosa- “And President Jacob Zuma must be credited and applauded for having complied with what the court ruled. ”

      After everything that the Zuma faction has inflicted on this country, this is an absolutely appalling & inexcusable statement from Ramaphosa. Clearly there’s no hope for us.

      • Joe Irwin says:

        Discounting the ethnic probability behind the riots, along with crediting and applauding Zuma gives one the impression that Ramaphosa is walking on egg shells, especially when he is in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

        • Wikus van der walt says:

          Let’s see President Ramaphosa’s response within ANC context. He still does not have an outright majority support there so needs to tread carefully. Despite this he basically said – what’s done is done. We are moving forward.

      • gorgee beattie says:

        Spot On!
        But this is realpolitik in play.
        It is not about ethics
        We will see what happens on Monday

  • Alan Paterson says:

    Once the current dust has settled, and it will, we will hopefully get to see those “instigators” out in the open and exposed fully to the world as the vile, pernicious rabble that they are and always have been. Zuma and kin, Magashule, Niehaus, etc, etc. The list, unfortunately, is long. But not endless. Ramaphosa is said to play the “long game.” So be it, but not too long. Thank you to those investigative reporters who have played such a sterling role in forcing so many issues that eventually (hopefully) will cause the sea change that good South Africans deserve.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    The last defense of a scoundrel is patriotism!!!You are and will always be scoundrels,state capturers, individuals who put money before your country and its citizens. You will go down in history as the real sellouts!!!In China and other countries you would have been hung for treason. That is what you did you betrayed 59 million people to the highest bidder!!!

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Moaning is easier than doing.

  • Peter Bartlett says:

    “All of us agree it would be possible for President Ramaphosa to have President Zuma released immediately,” said Niehaus.

    🙈 Carl, you💩, Zuma is no longer “President”! He’s a criminal, sitting in prison and waiting to be in Court again soon to face even more charges! Besides, having been found guilty, he should step aside, and if he refuses [again] he should be suspended along with all the other criminals in the ANC. Through his actions he has forfeited all his rights and should no longer entitled to any of the privileges accorded to a former head of state.

    Our “real” President promised the Nation tonight, on national TV, that the instigators of the violence, who are known, and who should include the already incarcerated Zuma, will all be found, arrested and held to account for this insurrection, and not a moment too soon!

    The “real” President should know, and I am certain that he does, that the whole of South Africa will be watching, and will hold him to account too, if he fails to carry out his promise to deal with the instigators!

    So, let’s shut these traitors down; they have no right to be pleading for Zuma to be pardoned; and they should not be allowed on any public or social media platforms!

    Let’s rid our country of these traitors once and for all.

  • L Dennis says:

    Social media should not give a platform to these thugs in any shape or form as they will only use this to further divide our nation. The only platform they should get is the dock in a court room. By the way all their social media should be shut down. Zuma is no longer a president so please do not call him as that. The only president we currently have is PRESIDENT Ramaphosa….i feel when i read articles and they state Ramaphosa and not President Ramaphosa it shows disrespect toward him and angers me.

  • Philip Armstrong says:

    Disgusting and despicable bunch…………Ramaphosa you best get a grip as any clemency of ANY sort will be a victory for these low life’s and will resurrect their efforts!

  • Rudd van Deventer says:

    ‘She said that Zuma’s jailing lit the powder keg and added that “Only a free president Zuma can address our nation and call for calm”. She added that if he were released, he could intervene to calm the country. In fact, the country is now regarded as stable after the most challenging unrest in recent history.’
    There we have it, the game plan!

  • David Mitchell says:

    Quite amazing how the Ret faction began their campaign with demands then threats of violence then actual violence and now that it has failed …gospel tv… really? How pathetic and at what cost to the people of this country. Shame on you all

    • Wikus van der walt says:

      The owner’s of this channel or so called gospel TV should go read their Bibles again – despite their perceived mission of bringing “their gospel” their moral compass is seriously off direction if they give ANY airtime to these characters they allowed to waste their airtime and that of their viewers.

  • Bert Kir says:

    …. “And President Jacob Zuma must be credited and applauded for having complied with what the court ruled”….

    For crying out loud Mr President, the man only gave himself over when, cornered with no way out, he kindly “let” himself be taken off in a luxury vehicle ….

    Anyone else would have been physically overpowered, handcuffed and frogmarched to the back door of a common police van, unceremoniously thrown in and driven away in ignominy…

    No, Mr President, if he had voluntarily had himself driven to the nearest police station and handed himself in, there would have been a modicum of merit in his conduct.

    But he did not, and in doing so, yet further demonstrated the contempt for everything that is not himself or in his interest and for which he has long become tiresome.


    For heaven’s sake rather say nothing than make yourself look like yet another lackey…

    • Johannes Nel says:

      Bert, you have nailed it perfectly. Thanks for saying what I wanted to say, but far more eloquently than I could have.

      • Katharine Ambrose says:

        Yes Zuma milked those days before swanning off in his motorcade to gaol to the max…Therebyheightening tensions encouraging militants in Western and indigenous military paraphernalia to swarm and threaten violence blood and death at his gate.. Why are these thugs still kept in the ANC on suspension?

    • Nancy Brindley says:

      Absolutely correct, he did not hand himself over voluntarily, , he did not have much choice, pushed to the very end of the time limit. It is very puzzling to me, but perhaps not really, when you realize that Cyril must know more than we will ever find out about Zuma’s wheelings and dealings over more than a decade. His having been the deputy president, for goodness sake. Maybe its a case of ” people in glass houses, shouldnt throw stones” !!! ?

  • Mundus Uys says:

    Most religious people act like atheists during the week. They live in the real world and obey the laws of nature (as if anyone has a choice). When their car leaves the road they instinctively battle for control. It is only when its flying off the bridge and they’ve run out of options, that they remember they have an almighty being at their disposal. Turning to Gospel TV is yet another pathetic way to let us know that the Zumites have ran out of options.

  • Ian HUNTLY says:

    No sympathy. They were willing to create R17Billion of destruction, >200 lose their lives, umpteen thousand their livelihoods. Let’s let the slow wheels of justice grind properly this time.


    So all leaders of the RET campaign have been suspended by the ANC. Wow what a terrible ‘punishment’. See them in jail for treason? Ha Ha. Reading between the lines, it seems the BEE BILLIONAIRE seems to be considering a pardon for Zuma? Spineless

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    CR does not want to ‘collapse’ the ANC completely by taking firmer steps against members ! Can you imagine the EFF coming to power ? AND the leader of the official opposition has nothing better to do than croon on about the potential loss of votes for the ANC at the height of this internal mayhem ! As if HIS party did not have similar issues to deal with. What brilliant leadership we have said little red riding hood !

  • Tods The Toed says:

    Zuma is that pestering abscess on the country’s face . I hope one of these billionaires racing to get into space takes him with and forgets him there. On the other hand what would be the harm to the world’s environment. One of the worst excuses for a human being. No principles, no shame, selfish and really evil.

  • Johannes Nel says:

    Despicable hypocrites.

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