‘No talk of immunity’

2018-02-09 14:04
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File)

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has told the party’s parliamentary caucus that immunity from prosecution for President Jacob Zuma is not part of “transition” discussions. He also assured the MPs that the talks would be concluded in a “day or two”.

Ramaphosa, who addressed the caucus on Thursday, was flanked by party secretary-general Ace Magashule and chief whip Jackson Mthembu.

“Immunity from prosecution is not even on the table. It is not in my powers to give him that,” the sources quoted Ramaphosa as having said.

MPs told The Witness that Ramaphosa wanted to end speculation that his Tuesday meeting with Zuma involved protecting him from possible corruption charges.

Meanwhile, Zuma’s backers in KwaZulu-Natal this week got a boost with the arrest of a prominent Ramaphosa ally, Mike Mabuyakhulu, in connection with fraud and money laundering charges.

Mabuyakhulu, who is currently the ANC KwaZulu-Natal’s interim leader, was tipped to contest the ANC provincial chairperson position against the party’s former provincial chairperson, Sihle Zikalala — a Zuma supporter.

The charges emanate from the Department of Economic Development’s R28 million payment to private companies to stage the 2012 North Sea Jazz Festival in Durban.

The money was allegedly paid into bank accounts of private companies in spite of the festival not taking place.

Mabuyakhulu, who was booted out of the provincial cabinet by the pro-Zuma PEC in 2016, was economic development MEC at the time the payment was made.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa supporters called on Mabuyakhulu to step down to avoid tarnishing his clean governance campaign.

“The ANC under its new president Cyril Ramaphosa has made it clear that the fight against corruption will be at the core of the party’s programme of action,” a former Mabuyakhulu ally from the eThekwini region said. “The commitment to fight corruption will ring hollow should we allow comrade Mike, who is facing serious charges of corruption, to continue being the face of the ANC in the province.”

Mabuyakhulu, who handed himself over to members of the elite law enforcement unit the Hawks, was on Wednesday released on R50 000 bail by the Durban Commercial Crimes Court. With five others, Mabuyakhulu is facing charges of corruption and money laundering.

Mabuyakhulu was appointed the ANC KwaZulu-Natal interim leader last month after the suspension of the party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

Apart from putting his new position at risk, the charges appear to have dashed chances for Mabuyakhulu contesting the province’s top party position. “People were lobbying for him to contest the chairperson position and his appointment as the convener of the Provincial Task Team (PTT) was seen as a positive development enhancing his chances,” said another source.

Mabuyakhulu said those wanting his appointment to be reviewed should approach the ANC. “I’m a deployee of the ANC,” he said.

Zikalala, who is the co-ordinator of the PTT, said the ANC in the province supported anti-corruption measures.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anc

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