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ANC still stuck on Zuma’s fate

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Former ANC president Jacob Zuma took his seat at the table of the party’s powerful national executive committee (NEC) this weekend, the first time since his recall.

Zuma arrived at this weekend’s meeting in Cape Town on the ticket of being an ex officio member, a courtesy extended to all former ANC presidents.

City Press understands, however, that Zuma’s presence there was anything but courteous and that he showed up to state his case. The ANC is divided on whether to rally behind him yet again, when he appears in court to face corruption charges.

Zuma’s lobbyists are said to be incensed by what they believe to be an orchestrated attack on the former president, allegedly led by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The meeting was also intended to discuss the national working committee’s contested proposal to postpone all scheduled provincial and regional elective conferences until after next year’s general elections.

A final decision on the Sbu Ndebele report, which recommends that the pro-Ramaphosa Eastern Cape ANC structure be dissolved, is pending but the ANC national working committee has rejected the findings.

Zuma’s backers believe Ramaphosa is poking the bear by pursuing charges against Zuma and cosying up to the opposition.

Zuma had preferred that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma succeed him as party leader, but she lost to Ramaphosa at the ANC’s national elective conference in December.

The latest source of consternation was Ramaphosa’s written response to a DA question about the legality of the state footing the bill for Zuma’s legal woes. Zuma supporters said Ramaphosa was inviting the opposition to challenge the state’s decision to pay for the former president’s lawyers. The DA has headed to the Pretoria High Court to challenge that decision.

Ramaphosa said in his reply: “The presidency … must continue paying for Mr Zuma’s legal fees on the basis that it undertook to do so until such time as the decision is reviewed and set aside by a court.”

According to a statement the presidency issued on Friday, the terms of reference of the pending state capture inquiry have been changed and those implicated can be prosecuted for self-incriminating evidence arising from the commission.

NEC members aligned with Zuma told City Press that Ramaphosa will be cornered into agreeing to throw his weight – and the ANC’s – behind Zuma or risk being seen as having a vendetta against him.

A KwaZulu-Natal leader said the ANC in the province will support Zuma and that there is an NEC resolution on the matter, which has yet to be overturned.

“In 2005, the NEC under the leadership of Thabo Mbeki resolved to support comrade Zuma during these court challenges. These are not new cases. If we were talking about state capture that would be a different story, but these are old cases and there is a standing resolution on the ANC’s attitude to these cases and that is what our support is based on,” the provincial leader said.

The KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League said it would mobilise support for Zuma, which it would take to court proceedings.

KwaZulu-Natal insiders said that using Zuma during the voter registration weekend two weeks ago was an admission that the ANC needed him to retain its lion’s share of the vote at the polls next year.

An NEC member sympathetic to Zuma said support for him was guaranteed when his trial begins. Not doing so would “expose” Ramaphosa.

“If he is smart, he must be the one that says let’s support him.”

[Source News24]
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