There is nothing wrong with supporting Jacob Zuma - Ace Magashule

2020-03-01 20:23
South African ruling Party African National Congress Secretary General Ace Magashule. (File, GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP)

South African ruling Party African National Congress Secretary General Ace Magashule. (File, GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP)

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ANC secretary general Ace Magashule reiterated his support for former president Jacob Zuma on Sunday, saying it was a party position to support its former president.

On Sunday, Magashule addressed Western Cape ANC structures to showcase the party's newly-launched online membership system.

During his speech, he told them that he had been asked outside the venue by the media about the former president, who is currently standing trial for corruption in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

"Media was asking [me]: 'Do you support Jacob Zuma?' I said: 'What is your problem? What is your problem because Jacob Zuma was the president of the ANC, and the NEC took a decision that Zuma should be supported'," he said to a room full of ANC members.

Magashule launched the new membership system, which is in line with a resolution of the ANC's 54th national conference. It instructed the NEC [national executive committee] "to oversee the urgent implementation of a modernised, technologically-enabled membership system that will speed up the delivery of membership cards, allow for electronic membership renewal and discourage gatekeeping".

Magashule said that Zuma should not be claimed by members who referred to themselves as RET, radical economic transformation, as "that is a position of the national conference".

When probed by eNCA outside the venue about his support for the former president, Magashule explained that it was not his decision but the decision of the organisation.

"The position of the ANC is that former president Jacob Zuma must be supported. What is the problem?

"It is the ANC position, not my position, and individuals and members of the ANC have been supporting Zuma. There is nothing wrong. He is a member of the ANC," he reiterated.

Just last week, several senior ANC members, including ANC MP Supra Mahumapelo, Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, ANC Free State chairperson Sam Mashinini and MPs Mosebenzi Zwane and Joe Maswanganyi, joined supporters at OR Tambo International Airport to welcome Zuma home. He had reportedly been in Cuba for treatment ahead of his May 6 court appearance.

At the gathering, Mahumapelo warned those who he said were going after Zuma and vowed to always defend him, News24 reported.

READ: You touch Jacob Zuma, you touch us – Mahumapelo

On Sunday, Magashule also referred to former apartheid president FW de Klerk's comments that apartheid was not a crime against humanity. He questioned why people could forgive De Klerk but "fail to forgive our own people".

De Klerk's comments led to the EFF calling for him to be removed from Parliament during the State of the Nation Address.

De Klerk later withdrew the comments and apologised, News24 reported.

READ: De Klerk's apartheid denial slammed in SONA debate

While speaking to eNCA outside the venue, Magashule said: "Apartheid has been declared a crime against humanity. We need to respect our own. There is no way you can support De Klerk but not Jacob Zuma, who has fought in the struggle.

"Zuma is still a member of the ANC – in good standing. Zuma must also be afforded [due] status," he said.

In response to Magashule's comments, Cope has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to condemn the secretary general's sentiments and to distance himself from it.

"It is the responsibility of President Ramaphosa to put the interests of the country above the interests of his political party," Cope's national spokesperson Dennis Bloem said in a statement on Sunday.

Read more on:    anc  |  fw de klerk  |  jacob zuma  |  ace magashule  |  politics
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