ANC vows ‘no havoc’

2008-09-09 00:00

Supporters of ANC president Jacob Zuma will not cause havoc in Pietermaritzburg if Friday’s ruling at the high court goes against him.

This assurance was given by the party’s provincial leadership at a press briefing yesterday.

If the ruling is in favour of Zuma there may be spontaneous rejoicing, but no formal celebrations have been planned, according to ANC provincial secretary-general Senzo Mchunu.

Mchunu said they are confident that party members who plan to gather outside the court will behave themselves. However, he said, they do have contingency plans in place.

“As in the past we have briefed the police and there could be an increased number present. We have also briefed intelligence. In terms of what might happen, we are on top of the situation. We will rely more on ourselves as the leadership, and should the situation warrant action from the police they will be in place.”

On Friday, Zuma will hear from Judge Chris Nicholson whether the state acted lawfully in the decision to re-charge him. As in past court appearances, the ANC and its alliance partners have planned a night vigil for tomorrow. Mchunu said they expect about 5 000 supporters from KZN to gather in Pietermaritzburg, joined by ANC members from other provinces.

Sources involved with contingency planning within the city said arrangements are being made for the arrival of 224 buses.

Also present will be members of the ANC’s national and provincial executive committees as well as leaders of the alliance partners — Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and the SA National Civics Organisation.

Mchunu said if the ruling is in favour of Zuma it will be a huge relief. Pressed on how they will handle the situation if the ruling goes against Zuma, Mchunu felt the situation would be tense, but not out of control.

“Our president has appeared at a number of rulings that have gone against him and all the time he has appealed to members to keep calm and they have heeded his call … .We have appealed to our members to continue displaying the good behaviour they have shown in all past appearances irrespective of the judgment handed down on Friday,” he said.

But he said if the ruling goes against Zuma the campaign to have the charges dropped will be stepped up. “We still maintain this is a political case and we stand firm on our call that the NPA should withdraw charges.”

Meanwhile, the court pickets and marches to police stations as a lead-up to Friday’s hearing continue.

There is to be a march by ANC members in Durban today to the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority, where they will hand over a memorandum calling on the charges against Zuma to be dropped. The ANC Youth League in Ixopo will also be marching this morning to the town’s police station and magistrate’s court.

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