ANC: We must give leadership

2007-12-29 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The renewed prosecution of ANC president Jacob Zuma drew immediate reaction last night.

ANC secretary-general and SACP chairman Gwede Mantashe said the ANC National Executive Committee will release a statement on January 7 after its legkotla [meeting].

“We can’t keep on skirting around the issue. We can’t sit in a corner and say he is guilty until proven otherwise.

“The ANC will have to decide and provide clear leadership over this,” he said.

Mantashe implied that the timing of the charges was meant to put Zuma in a bad position. “It’s not a new story. Two days before the ANC’s national conference [in Polokwane from December 16 to 20], this story of the charges was again leaked to the media. Later the media reported during the conference that charges were going to be laid against him,” he said.

“We can’t get emotional and sensational about this, but me must deal with it in a structured manner.”

Kgalema Motlanthe, Zuma party deputy, said at the Polokwane conference that the ANC had not discussed what it would do if charges were laid again.

Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said the law must take its course. “The South African legal system works so that if anyone is accused, he must be proven guilty, and if not, the person shall be acquitted,” he said.

No one in President Thabo Mbeki’s camp wanted to comment last night. A leader in the grouping said the ANC has a single approach to questions like the charges against Zuma: “The law must take its own course and the ANC will not interfere with the law,” he said.

He said it would be unfair to allege that the charges were meant to embarrass Zuma or test his popularity.

“This case has been hanging over him for a long time. It would be unfair to say it is a conspiracy, because all those allegations are really against just one man [Mbeki],” he said.

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