The African National Congress (ANC) league structures in Gauteng have distanced themselves from the provincial leadership’s decision to shun President Jacob Zuma in the wake of the damning Constitutional Court judgement on the Nkandla debacle.
The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and the Mkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans (MKVA) said they consulted their members and held meetings into the early hours of Wednesday, following the ANC provincial executive’s statement accepting Zuma’s public apology but requesting him “to do the right thing.”
Provincial chairman of the MKVA, Daddy “Bronson” Thinane said the leagues disagreed with calls for Zuma to step down.
‘”…and what is this statement of ‘doing the right thing’ really…what does the PEC [Provincial Executive Committee] mean by that? That statement is not clear to us, it is just a parable,” Thinane told reporters in Johannesburg.
“People must speak and be clear. All of us here and the people we represent support the decision of ANC NWC [National Working Committe] to allow Zuma to finish his term, both as president of the ANC and the republic.”
ANCYL provincial chairperson Matome Chiloane said it took “a courageous Zuma” to apologise publicly.
“For a person to reach a stage where they apologise publicly shows that President Zuma reflected internally…you just cannot ignore an apology. It takes a real and courageous leader to say he is sorry,” said Chiloane.
The group claimed that calls for Zuma to resign were influenced by the West, which was hellbent on targeting BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] countries “in pursuit of feeding their hunger for total control”. South Africa’s opposition parties were also influenced by “western powers”, they said.
“The dirty hand of the West is fiddling in our country and using the opposition as their instruments to create chaos. The DA, EFF and spokesperson of white monopoly capital [Anton] Rupert are all in bed together, caressed in the arms of the West to bring regime change…we will never be party to such an unholy affair,” Chiloane said as he read the joint statement.
The parties said they supported the Constitutional Court judgement which called on Zuma to pay back the State for the Nkandla upgrades, but slammed religious leaders who called on Zuma to resign last week.
“Churches played a crucial role in carrying us over the bridge from apartheid to a democracy, ensuring a smooth transition. It is therefore shocking to hear high priests say they do not accept the president’s apology…since when does the Bible teach non-forgiveness? Shockingly, these are the people who were anti-apartheid activists and forgave the apartheid racists,” Chiloane said.
“Therefore the right decision as per ANC Gauteng resolution here, is for Zuma to finish his term.”
At least least four provinces have so far made their stance known after they deliberated on the Nkandla judgement that found that Zuma and the National Assembly failed to uphold and protect the Constitution by ignoring Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial actions regarding Zuma’s private Nkandla homestead.
Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal all came out in support of Zuma on Tuesday. Mpumalanga chairperson and premier David Mabuza reportedly hinted that ANC members might help Zuma to pay back to the State the money used for upgrades.
The Gauteng provincial body, led by its chairperson and Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile, said it believed that the ANC “has already paid a price during the 2014 elections”, due to among others, the anger of the electorate about the drawn out Nkandla matter.
“As the ANC, we have to do a deeper introspection and take far-reaching decisions that will repair the damage to our image and to continue to enjoy the confidence and trust of our people.”
The latest move came after branches in the province condemned Zuma and called for him to step down.
Mashatile said on Tuesday that his PEC discussed the possibility of Zuma appearing before the ANC integrity committee for bringing the party into disrepute. ANC branches in the province would hold meetings to deliberate on the court judgement, after which a PGC (provincial general council) would take the final decision when it meets next month.
Mashatile and his deputy, premier David Makhura, have been publicly vocal in criticising the manner in which Zuma handled the debacle around the massive public overspending at his private Nkandla residence.