Will Cosatu help pay JZ's legal fees? 'No way!' says alliance partner

2018-12-15 11:36
Former President Jacob Zuma.

Former President Jacob Zuma.

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"Hell, no!"

This was the response by Cosatu’s spokesperson Sizwe Pamla on Saturday when asked if the trade federation would assist former President Jacob Zuma with his legal costs.

"In fact, we will be discouraging anyone from giving money to Zuma," he told News24, adding that when "criminals…commit crimes at a national level", this was unacceptable.

Pamla was commenting on a statement released by the ANC on Friday. The statement came in the wake of a court judgment this week that ruled Zuma was to be responsible for his own legal fees in criminal cases in which he was involved.

"The contribution of Cde Jacob Zuma towards the liberation of South Africa will not be forgotten," said the party in the statement.

'ANC won't discourage contributions'

"Therefore, there may be South Africans who wish to assist him with these huge legal costs. The ANC shall not discourage any South African who wishes to do so," it added.

Pamla said that, as an alliance partner to the ANC, it was hoping to talk to the governing party to gain clarity on these comments.

The statement was too vague, he said.

The ANC needed to make clear if it would "extricate itself from the label of corruption".

He said that, if it emerged that the ANC was looking to provide money to Zuma for the legal fees, "we will find ourselves on the opposite side of that position".

"We need a conversation with them," he said.

Previously, on SABC's Morning Live on Friday, acting ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete commented on the matter – seeming to suggest donations to Zuma might be made.

"We are owning up to this matter: members of the ANC, either through donations or through other forms, they can assist our former president - both as the leader of the ANC and the former state president. I don’t foresee any problem," he declared.

SACP: 'No chance'

Meanwhile, also on Saturday, SA Communist Party (SACP) spokesperson Alex Mashilo told the Citizen newspaper that his organisation found the messages given by the ANC on the matter to be contradictory as to what had been previously discussed within the alliance.

He also told the newspaper that there was no chance the SACP would be contributing funds to Zuma.

In The Witness newspaper on Friday, ANC KwaZulu-Natal MPL Vusi Dube was reported in an article as promising that Zuma's supporters in the province would launch a fundraising campaign to help him settle his legal bills.

"We have raised funds for him before and nothing will stop us from mobilising financial support for him now that opposition parties have ganged up against him and obtained a judgment that we view as a further humiliation of the former president," Dube, told the newspaper.

On Saturday, the DA issued a statement in which it said that the ANC was "still one family" with Zuma.

"The ANC needs him to campaign for the party ahead of the 2019 elections at all costs. Whatever commitment to ridding the ANC of any corruption is only empty words and promises," said the party's spokesperson Solly Malatsi in a statement.

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled this week that Zuma had to pay out of his own pocket for legal fees incurred in his personal capacity, in criminal cases instituted against him. 

He will also need to pay back the State for legal bills it previously footed in related cases.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  jacob zuma
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