Does JZ have a chance?

CityPress - - Front Page - S’THEM­BILE CELE, HLENGIWE NHLABATHI and SETUMO STONE politics@city­

Afull dis­clo­sure may shield Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma from jail time, with some within the ANC say­ing amnesty could be the much-needed tool to unify the fac­tion­alised party. But such an of­fi­cial par­don is likely to hit a snag as Zuma and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) are try­ing to over­turn a Pre­to­ria High Court judg­ment, which found in favour of the DA’s as­ser­tion that the pres­i­dent be recharged with cor­rup­tion.

ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Lindiwe Sisulu yes­ter­day told City Press that amnesty for Zuma was an op­tion as it would help to keep the ANC to­gether.

“From time to time, the ANC does come around to dis­cussing is­sues of amnesty,” she said when asked if a re­prieve would be granted to Zuma.

City Press un­der­stands that while there are no for­mal talks about the pres­i­dent’s amnesty yet, some within the ANC have sug­gested this to test if there would be any ap­petite for it.

“The pos­si­bil­ity of amnesty is some­thing that is part and par­cel of the char­ac­ter of the ANC,” said Sisulu.

“It would not be some­thing that is out of the or­di­nary. My view, if I am elected leader of the ANC, would be to en­sure that what­ever hap­pens, the best in­ter­ests of the ANC pre­vails.”

Sisulu said she hoped Zuma would come clean and ad­mit to mis­takes he made dur­ing his ten­ure. “I do not think that he woke up in the morn­ing and de­cided: ‘This is the route I am go­ing to take.’”

Fol­low­ing the gov­ern­ing party’s wa­ter­shed 2007 con­fer­ence in Lim­popo, which saw for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously ousted, a 10-mem­ber na­tional working com­mit­tee – led by Sisulu – was tasked with ad­vis­ing the ANC on the pos­si­bil­ity of then newly elected party pres­i­dent Zuma be­ing jailed on 783 charges of fraud, cor­rup­tion, rack­e­teer­ing and money laun­der­ing.

The com­mit­tee sub­mit­ted to the NPA that charg­ing Zuma would not be in the best in­ter­ests of the coun­try.

The charges were later dropped – eight years into the case and two weeks be­fore the 2009 gen­eral elec­tions.

Zuma and the NPA are ap­peal­ing the court’s rul­ing, made in April last year, that the de­ci­sion to drop the 783 charges was ir­ra­tional and that Zuma had a case to an­swer.

And fol­low­ing last year’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court judg­ment, which found that Zuma had vi­o­lated his oath of of­fice with re­gard to non­se­cu­rity up­grades at his Nkandla home, City Press heard that a del­e­ga­tion of el­ders in the party ap­proached Zuma to raise the con­ver­sa­tion about amnesty. Zuma is said to have been amenable to the talks but later aban­doned them.

Sisulu said the ANC was cur­rently di­vided into fac­tions and that an in­ter­ven­tion to unify the party was nec­es­sary.

“He will be for­given as long as he tells the truth and is able to com­mit to working with ev­ery­body and to en­sur­ing that we can re­verse some of the prob­lems that we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing – and also to en­sur­ing that those peo­ple who are so strongly at­tached to him are back in the fold.”

The par­al­lel drawn be­tween unity and pos­si­ble amnesty was also re­in­forced by first deputy gen­eral secretary of the SA Com­mu­nist Party, Solly Ma­paila.

“We have for­given this com­rade many times,” he said.

“Of course, there will al­ways be room for amnesty if that space will be about deep­en­ing the unity of the revo­lu­tion­ary forces. But ... when there is too much ar­ro­gance, such that this com­rade some­times does not even see the dam­age he is caus­ing to the move­ment – the mor­tal dam­age.”

Ma­paila, who has been out­spo­ken on Zuma’s deal­ings with the con­tro­ver­sial Gupta fam­ily, also raised red flags about the le­gal im­pli­ca­tions of grant­ing amnesty. “I just don’t un­der­stand what kind of an amnesty it will be if it is on wrong­do­ing. I think if we bend too much, we will reach a sit­u­a­tion where we can­not even ap­prove the gen­eral moral­ity of so­ci­ety.

“We will break the rule of law in so­ci­ety, and a rev­o­lu­tion with­out the rule of law – let alone the rule of revo­lu­tion­ary law – will be as much as fin­ished. You have to weigh up the con­se­quences with the im­pact on the rev­o­lu­tion.”

Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters leader Julius Malema re­jected any of­fer of amnesty to Zuma.

“Let them give us the law which al­lows such. They must give us the law which would al­low such non­sense,” he said, adding that the ANC’s loss of power would mean that the party would have no lever­age to bring about amnesty. The ANC will not have power in 2019, and there­fore it is not in any po­si­tion to talk about amnesty to any­one. No, it will never hap­pen.

“The ar­rest of Zuma is the be­gin­ning of ar­rest­ing cor­rup­tion. It has to start some­where. It is not Zuma the per­son. When we say, ‘Ar­rest Zuma’, we mean ar­rest cor­rup­tion.

“Once we give amnesty to Zuma, then we have given amnesty to cor­rup­tion, and there­fore cor­rup­tion is in­sti­tu­tion­alised and it is fash­ion­able and we will never ar­rest it. There­fore, we will never al­low it.”

At­tempts by Zuma’s de­trac­tors to get him to step down have thus far proved fu­tile, and MPs will yet again bat­tle Zuma in a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence on Au­gust 8.

Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete is yet to de­cide on whether the mo­tion will be con­ducted by se­cret bal­lot.

A close Zuma ally said the re­newed talk of amnesty was “pro­pa­ganda man­u­fac­tured by en­e­mies who want to push Zuma aside”. He an­tic­i­pated that sim­i­lar sto­ries would be spread in the me­dia in the pe­riod lead­ing up to the De­cem­ber con­fer­ence.

He said the ru­mour was in­tended “to con­vince the masses and mem­bers of the ANC to say that even when [Zuma] is of­fered some­thing he is re­fus­ing, so he does not want to lis­ten”.

He said Zuma had stated pub­licly and to the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee “that if peo­ple want him to go, they must come to him qui­etly”.

“It must not come with strings at­tached, but as hon­est com­rade­ship ad­vice. But if it is an agenda that this per­son must go to speak to him, sent by for­eign forces, we will not agree to that. If it is gen­uine and com­rades are say­ing, ‘This is the chal­lenge’, then he will con­sider,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.