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ANC disciplinary hearing against Zuma postponed amid security concerns

ANC disciplinary hearing against Zuma postponed amid security concerns
Former president Jacob Zuma. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

The ANC has postponed former president Jacob Zuma’s appearance before the party’s National Disciplinary Committee, citing security concerns.

The ANC has halted plans to have Jacob Zuma appear before the party’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) at its headquarters, Luthuli House in the Johannesburg CBD, on Tuesday, 7 May, where supporters of the former president’s uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party were preparing to gather. 

Speaking at a press briefing on Sunday, ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said the party was avoiding large gatherings at its headquarters, which might end in chaos.  

He said all in-person meetings at Luthuli House would be halted until after the general elections on 29 May.  

“In pursuance of this duty and based on an assessment of the security situation prevailing at Luthuli House, the secretary-general’s office was advised that activities that have the potential to attract large gatherings that might result in violent or disruptive behaviour are not advisable, especially so close to election day. 

 “This is exacerbated by the activities of certain political parties in organising demonstrations and sit-ins at Luthuli House. It was in this context that the NDC was requested to be mindful of these concerns and consider holding in abeyance any disciplinary proceedings that require in-person meetings at Luthuli House until after the 2024 elections,” he said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Who exactly is Lennox Ntsodo, the man accusing Zuma’s MK party of forging signatures? 

In a letter sent to Zuma from the office of the NDC chair, Ralph Mgijima, Zuma was informed that the meeting would be held virtually because the details of the meeting had been leaked to the public.  

Since the details of the hearing and charges were made public by persons unknown to the ANC and the National Disciplinary Committee, the spokesperson [Nhlamulo Ndhlela] of the MK party called on its members to gather at Luthuli House to protect you. You have not taken any steps to inform the MK party that you would be safe in the headquarters of your own political party and that such protection is unnecessary,” the letter states. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

“As a responsible organisation, the ANC does not want a recurrence of the incident on 28 March 1994 when members of another political party stormed the then ANC headquarters at Shell House resulting in loss of life, extensive destruction of property and the declaration of a state of emergency in 11 magisterial districts in the East Rand and the whole of the KwaZulu-Natal province. Such a situation will be totally unwarranted on the eve of a general election.”  

However, Mbalula told the media that the party had decided to scrap the meeting, for now.  

Zuma was supposed to appear before the NDC for two contraventions of rule 25 of the party’s constitution: 

  • That he acted “on behalf of or in collaboration with a political organisation or party other than an organisation or party in the alliance of the ANC in a manner contrary to the aims, policies and objectives of the ANC”; and
  • For “joining or supporting a political organisation or party other than an organisation in alliance with the ANC, in a manner contrary to the aims, objectives and policy of the ANC”.

Mbalula said Zuma had violated the party’s constitution, an act which unambiguously placed him outside the ANC. 

“The events around Jacob Zuma have been fluid and rapidly so, from the announcement of voting for MK to now leading the party. In between that, we need to remind you about the decisions the ANC have taken. The NEC, in its last meeting, took a decision that we evoke a rule in our constitution to formally take action against Jacob Zuma and that led to the action of him being suspended,” he said. 

Attempts to reach Zuma and MK for comment were unsuccessful, but in comments to the SABC, MK spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said that despite the cancellation, they will continue with their plan to gather outside Luthuli House.

“We will be there as far as we are concerned. You know, we are there by invitation. The ANC invited us over and they knew very well that wherever former President Jacob Zuma is, you know, we will be there to support him. So, for them to also refer to a provocation of sort, the mere fact that they can request the former president’s presence at Luthuli House for their kangaroo court DC before the elections is absurd.

“So, they brought this upon themselves and our president being the person who is not a coward, will definitely be there and in person. So, that is where we are at, “ he told the public broadcaster.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC National Disciplinary Committee summons Zuma over MK party support 

In January, the ANC suspended Zuma for “actively impugning the integrity of the ANC” by campaigning to dislodge the organisation from power. The decision to suspend Zuma was made unanimously by the ANC’s National Executive Committee. 

This was after Zuma ditched the ANC for the MK party in December 2023.

When announcing his support for the MK party, Zuma accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of being an agent of “white monopoly capital” and of being against the progress of black professionals and intellectuals.

“I cannot, and will not, campaign for the ANC of Ramaphosa,” he said.

The ANC went to court to challenge the registration of the MK party and its use of the name of its disbanded military wing, but was unsuccessful in both cases.DM

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