‘ANC failed to unite the country’

Date: 07 Jul 2021

Zuma stand-off tearing party apart

THE ANC’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte yesterday announced that action would be taken against individuals responsible for the Nkandla gathering. This has been met with heavy criticism from political analysts.

Duarte spoke during the party’s press briefing detailing the decisions taken by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC). She said it was unacceptable for people to defy the Covid-19 regulations with dozens of ex-president Jacob Zuma supporters flocking to his homestead.

The party took a decision to subject to a disciplinary process all those who have allegedly transgressed and gathered at Nkandla including the suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule who addressed Zuma supporters there.

Speaking on the ANC’s earlier decision to disband the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and MK Council, Duarte said “the actions of the MKMVA which as a liberation army prided itself on its discipline, is a shameful blight on this proud history”.

Political analysts warned that the ANC’s leadership was failing to rise above factions and provide leadership.

Professor Sipho Seepe said: “In the past, some of the loudmouths that pontificate about the sanctity of the judiciary are the same individuals who under former president Thabo Mbeki’s administration used to tell us that we need to change the mindset of the judiciary.”

He felt that some of the ANC leaders, who had publicly denounced Zuma, were motivated by jealousy and hatred towards him “because he had defeated their political ambitions and won all political contestations within the party”.

Political analyst Jackie Shandu said: “Taking action against organisers of the Nkandla gathering will further unite those supporting Zuma and draw the battle line inside the ANC. It also smacks of jealousy and fear of the grand popularity Zuma continues to command, years after he left office.”

Professor Tumi Senokoane shared this sentiment, asserting that there was currently no leadership interested in uniting the country because they were deeply involved in factions.

In the Pietermaritzburg High Court, judgment regarding Zuma’s application for an order that the warrant of arrest, signed by the Concourt, be stayed is expected to be handed down on Friday.

The Concourt last week found Zuma guilty of being in contempt of court and had sentenced him to 15 months’ imprisonment, and Zuma had five days to hand himself over to the Joburg or Nkandla police. Legal counsel argued whether the high court had jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Black Lawyers Association coastal chairperson Mpumelelo Zikalala urged Zuma to speak to his conscience and hand himself over to police before they came to arrest him.

Zikalala said from the onset Zuma stood no chance of succeeding in his application to stay his arrest and “must show leadership and statesmanship and avoid unnecessary bloodshed”.

“The fact that the Concourt order still stands itself as it was not part of his application yesterday meant the police were still legally bound to enforce the order as directed by the Concourt …”

Zuma’s legal counsel, led by advocate Dali Mpofu argued that the Pietermaritzburg High Court had jurisdiction to hear and act on the decision of the Constitutional Court. Mpofu argued that because the Concourt itself ruled that Zuma must hand himself over to Nkandla police, which the Pietermaritzburg High Court had jurisdiction over, was a proof that it had jurisdiction to hear the matter. Judge Jerome Mnguni asked Mpofu why Zuma did not go to the same court that found him guilty. Mpofu said: “It was not necessary to waste money there while there was a court like this one which had jurisdiction over the matter.”

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, representing the Zondo Commission and its chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, and advocate Max du Plessis SC, representing the Helen Suzman Foundation, argued that the Pietermaritzburg High Court as a lower court had no powers to tamper with the Concourt decision.

They argued that Zuma was also supposed to seek to suspend the contempt of court order and as he had not, he was obligated to hand himself over on Sunday. “Here we are dealing with a person who as we speak is in contempt of court because he was supposed to hand himself over to the police on Sunday as per Constitutional Court order therefore I ask the court to dismiss this application,” said Ngcukaitobi.

Legal expert Mpumelelo Zikalala said Police Minister Bheki Cele and police commissioner Khehla Sithole would have to arrest Zuma by midnight tomorrow or they’ll be in contempt of court.

THABO MAKWAKWA and WILLEM PHUNGULA

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