Zuma lashes ANC vet­er­ans

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER, POLOKO TAU, S’THEMBILE CELE and HLENGIWE NHLABATHI news@city­press.co.za

A mil­i­tant Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma lashed out at ANC vet­er­ans at a rally in eDumbe Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in KwaZulu-Na­tal, or­gan­ised to cel­e­brate the party’s first municipal elec­tions vic­tory there. His sup­port­ers also used the event to at­tack Zuma’s crit­ics, who have been call­ing for his re­moval be­cause of his re­la­tion­ship with the Gupta fam­ily and their al­leged cap­ture of govern­ment de­part­ments and paras­tatals through Zuma’s pa­tron­age.

Wear­ing a grey jacket, black slacks and a yel­low ANC shirt, Zuma was res­o­lute in the face of calls for his term to be cut short.

Re­gard­ing calls for his res­ig­na­tion or im­peach­ment, Zuma said he had been to jail be­fore and sur­vived.

“Even if I am ar­rested to­day, I am used to it. I was in jail for 10 years, so you can­not scare me,” he said.

Zuma said non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and op­po­si­tion par­ties, which “ran” to the courts af­ter los­ing bat­tles in Par­lia­ment, had a “mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of democ­racy”.

He added that ANC vet­er­ans, who had writ­ten an open let­ter call­ing for his dis­missal, did not be­long to any ANC “struc­tures” and were out of line.

“When you write a let­ter you send it to a per­son, not the whole world,” Zuma said.

The vet­er­ans in­clude Rivo­nia Tri­al­ists An­drew Mlan­geni, Ahmed Kathrada and De­nis Gold­berg.

His back­ers went on the of­fen­sive yes­ter­day against in­creas­ing pub­lic calls for him to step down, say­ing he would com­plete “the five-year man­date” vot­ers gave him.

Wa­ter Af­fairs Min­is­ter Nomvula Mokonyane, who is a key Zuma ally and a mem­ber of the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC), told the rally that Zuma’s con­science would not guide him, as sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe sug­gested this week, fol­low­ing the re­lease of the damn­ing State of Cap­ture re­port au­thored by for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela.

“Your con­science will not guide you, but ANC branches will,” she said.

ANC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Super Zuma, who ac­com­pa­nied the pres­i­dent to the rally in an SA Na­tional De­fence Force he­li­copter – and with an even larger than usual se­cu­rity con­tin­gent – said the party’s branches had elected Zuma and would de­fend him.

“Those who want to touch Zuma must start with the branches,” he said, to mas­sive ap­plause from the crowd, bussed in from nearby Pon­gola and Ulundi. “Those are the peo­ple who elected Zuma in Man­gaung.” The pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary said the pres­i­dent was be­ing tar­geted be­cause of a shift in ANC pol­icy, fol­low­ing its adop­tion of a res­o­lu­tion on rapid eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion at the party’s Man­gaung con­fer­ence.

He said the ANC in KwaZulu-Na­tal would “de­fend” the pres­i­dent to en­sure that “five fam­i­lies” no longer con­trolled 70% of the econ­omy.

KwaZulu-Na­tal was not the only prov­ince back­ing Zuma. In North West, the pro­vin­cial ANC re­it­er­ated its sup­port for him. Con­tin­ued on page 2

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