Zuma lashes ANC veterans
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