Zuma will not resign-ANC

28th August 2003

Deputy President Jacob Zuma will not resign his position, the African National Congress said yesterday.

At the same time, the party also rejected suggestions it stood to benefit from the arms deal.

"The lynch mentality that has gripped opposition politics is neither healthy nor desirable for our democracy," the ANC said in a statement.

"The ANC reiterates its position that until such time a court of law or competent institution of justice passes a guilty verdict, the deputy president will not be subjected to any disciplinary process, or be asked to relinquish his position.

"While we strongly agree that the prevailing state of affairs presents an uncomfortable situation for the country, we must desist from the temptation to subvert due processes and pass judgement without evidence that has been tested in a court of law," it said.

The ANC had always held a principled view that the law should take its course, and therefore appealed to everyone to allow this to happen.

The party would continue to respect the justice system, and was therefore not in the habit of commenting on a matter that was sub judice.

"We have to jealously defend our democracy and protect the integrity and independence of our institutions of democracy".

The public should not allow itself to be hoodwinked into "nefarious and narrow political agendas being perpetuated by the opposition parties".

"We must all accord our institutions of justice the dignity and the respect they deserve, and not pre-empt the outcome of the (Schabir) Shaik trial through trial-by-media, even before it has begun.

"The ANC is dismayed by suggestions that it stands to benefit from the arms deal, and we insist that there could be nothing further from the truth," the statement said.

"We take particular exception to malicious reports by SABC TV news and radio, which suggest that the ANC may have been party to illegal activities.

"On matters that directly affect the ANC, we wish to reiterate that internal investigations will get underway for internal purposes of the ANC.

"We will, however, not comment any further on matters that are sub judice, and we will therefore handle these matters with the sensitivity they warrant.

"It is our intention to take appropriate action to ensure that the name of the ANC is not dragged into the mud by mischievous and malicious characters," the statement said. – Sapa.