Shameful, disgraceful – elders lay into Zuma, ANC leadership

Frank Chikane and Cheryl Carolus. Picture: Lerato Sejake, News24
Frank Chikane and Cheryl Carolus. Picture: Lerato Sejake, News24

President Jacob Zuma has brought shame to the ANC and the country through his indiscretions and blatant corruption.

This is according to 101 ANC elders who publicly spoke out against Zuma and the entire leadership of the ANC, a day after the release of a report on state capture by the Public Protector’s office, which found that Zuma may have violated his oath of office over undue influence that his friends the Guptas and his son have in the running of state affairs.

“We have stood by and seen the degradation of important institutions and the blatant looting of public assets. It’s openly facilitated by state capture and theft by those close to us and those who are our leaders. At the centre of this disgraceful behaviour sits our president,” said former ANC secretary-general Cheryl Carolus at a press conference attended by a number of stalwarts in Parktown.

Carolus said they were concerned that Zuma – who was yet to honour a request for a meeting – had surrounded himself with people that were questionable and had regular visits to the Gupta compound.

“In the process he abused state power and resources,” she said.

Not only that, Carolus charged that Zuma and his cohorts had successfully marginalised every decent person who dispensed the values of the ANC.

“He uses state institutions to hound those that have tried to do their jobs in the public sector. Well-known persons are subjected to this, including former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, the Hawks’ Anwa Dramat and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan,” she said.

“There are 100 if not thousands of honest young people who today are hounded and persecuted because they refused to be captured.”

Carolus added that the shameful hounding of good men and women must come to an end.

Carolus, together with Reverend Frank Chikane, was delegated to present the views of the stalwarts who sat behind them, occasionally nodding.

While the expectation was that the elders should raise issues within the movement, they believe they should be allowed to express themselves after numerous requests for a meeting with Zuma had come to naught.

They appealed for Zuma to give them a hearing.

“We want to discuss ways to ensure we come up with a turnaround strategy to reposition the movement to what it is supposed to do.”

They had already written a letter to the ANC’s top six in preparation for the meeting. The letter was handed to journalists at the press briefing.

In it, stalwarts said the leadership of the ANC had failed the people of South Africa.

“It has presided over the downward spiral of the organisation and given rise to widespread national anxiety by defending, among others, the personal interests of some leaders at the expense of the public good and the credibility of the organisation,” read the 10-page letter.

It was also scathing on how the ANC in the National Assembly breached the Constitution in its handling of the Nkandla matter and in turn undermined the intended purposes of the party’s integrity committee. This suggested the failure to subject Zuma to that committee.

“The leadership of the ANC has displayed poor crisis management over and over again.”

This also related to its failure to act in relation to the removal of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene last December and again the persecution of Gordhan.

The veterans want to be empowered to convene and facilitate a national consultative conference to reflect on the state of the organisation and elect credible leaders free of blemishes, factionalism and corruption

Hlengiwe Nhlabathi
Political journalist
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001  e:
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