Sunday Times

Carry on talking to Zuma, says PEC


● The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to continue negotiatin­g with former president Jacob Zuma to end the impasse with the Constituti­onal Court to avoid his arrest.

At a meeting between Ramaphosa and the provincial executive committee (PEC) on Thursday, the KZN leaders requested a meeting with the ANC’s national officials.

The PEC wants the officials and Zuma to continue talking until they find a solution to the Zuma-Zondo standoff.

Zuma is facing possible jail time after he ignored a Constituti­onal Court order that he should appear before the commission headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

The commission has applied to the court to have Zuma jailed for contempt of court.

Zuma has refused to participat­e in the court proceeding­s, and this week wrote to the court saying he is ready to go to prison.

In a meeting with the ANC’s top leaders last month, Zuma accused them of trying to convince him to appear before the commission because they wanted him to go to jail. Ntuli told the Sunday Times the KwaZulu-Natal PEC is concerned about the possible fallout as there has been no indication of a solution following Zuma’s meeting with the leaders.

“Our position has always been that national officials must hear what JZ [Zuma] is saying, some of which we believe requires some sort of an interventi­on, but also as we said to him [Zuma] we are not convinced that it will be in the best interests of the ANC for him not to go [before the commission] and subsequent­ly get arrested.”

Ntuli said that when the national officials were tasked to engage with Zuma there was hope that a solution would be found. However, that has not been the case and concerns over a possible fallout still exist.

“There are people in the ANC who believe that Zuma is being targeted by others within the organisati­on — it doesn’t matter how many they are but they exist and those people will inevitably find sympathy in a certain section of society,” Ntuli said.

“We don’t want a situation where you end up having a former president arrested, because that will become a huge crisis for the ANC and also for South Africa.”

Ntuli added that the ANC “still believes as leaders at that level they should have found each other on what is in the best interests of the ANC and South Africa”.

The PEC would support whatever the national officials believed to be in the best interests of the ANC after their engagement­s with Zuma, he said.

He explained that “when they [the national officials] have had an opportunit­y to hear all sides and analyse the issues, they would come up with a position that says this is the way to go — we were going to agree with that because we referred the matter to them, because we thought they would be in a better place to deal with it”.

Ntuli said the PEC had agreed to defer discussion­s on the matter to their meeting with the party’s national officials, which he estimated will take place within a month.

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