In the wake of illegal gatherings and threats of violence by supporters of former president Jacob Zuma, the ANC national executive committee (NEC) has vowed to defend all democratic institutions, including the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, from political attacks.
This was just one of the outcomes from the ANC NEC special meeting that took place on Monday to discuss the blatant disregard for Covid-19 regulations and the incitement of violence by members purporting to be in support of the former president.
Speaking during a briefing held at the governing party’s headquarters on Tuesday morning, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte condemned the activities by individuals operating under the banner of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA).
RT @Queenin_M: She says the #NEC noted the “counter-revolutionary calls for violence and civil war, parading of armed groups, flagrant display of weapons and firing of guns, as well as the activities of individuals operating under the banner of the MKMVA.” #JacobZuma #CityPress— City Press (@City_Press) July 6, 2021
Zuma’s supporters from all corners of the country flocked to his homestead in KwaZulu-Natal following a Constitutional Court judgment that found him in contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison. They made it clear that they would not hesitate to protect him from being arrested.
“The counter-revolutionary calls for violence and even civil war, parading of armed groups, flagrant display of weapons and firing of guns, as well as the activities, particularly of individuals operating under the banner of the MKMVA,” she said.
Duarte also confirmed that the NEC had approved the disbanding of the MKMVA and MK national council. She said that it was time for the ANC to clean all its structures.
“The ANC cannot have youth league members older than 40 years and then have MKMVA members who are younger than 35,” she explained.
The office of the secretary-general along with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary had been tasked to urgently investigate and initiate disciplinary action against the organisers responsible for the incitement of violence and defiance of Covid-19 regulations outside Zuma’s homestead.
The probe will also look into those responsible for the burning of ANC regalia and other acts of ill-discipline, which violate the governing party’s constitution and code of conduct.
Despite the embarrassment and turmoil suffered by the party this past weekend because of the spectacle that unfolded at Zuma’s homestead, Duarte expressed good wishes and sympathy for the former president.
“I think that [former] president Zuma is exploring every legal avenue that is available to reduce or remove the custodial court sentence that has been put on him.
“We [the ANC] respect the rule of law, and we believe that the judiciary must make its own decisions. We do not believe we have any say in the judiciary’s finding.”
Duarte explained that officials had not yet met with Zuma to discuss the events of this past weekend, but it was likely that an engagement would be set up soon.
“We intend to engage with the former president, to have a discussion with him. We have selected a group of NEC members who are going to work with the PEC [provincial executive committee]. Comrade Zuma is an elder of this organisation; we love him, we respect him and there is no reason for us not to continue to engage with him,” she said.
Zuma had to hand himself over this past Sunday but has now filed an application with the Constitutional Court to rescind its judgment condemning him to 15 months in prison.
The apex court will hear Zuma’s application for rescission on Monday July 12. The Zondo commission has indicated that it will oppose the application, and minority rights organisation AfriForum has expressed interest in submitting an affidavit in support of the commission.
Zuma’s application for the suspension of the warrant of arrest against him is currently underway at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
MT @Queenin_M: The MKMVA reacts to disbandment: It is our distinct impression that the #ANC is responding emotionally & in anger, in total disregard of the ANC constitution & proper procedures. All of this just because of MKMVA’s support for #Zuma. pic.twitter.com/RXIAV1lS7X— City Press (@City_Press) July 6, 2021