ANC to intervene in ongoing legal battle between Ramaphosa and Zuma

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Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC conference in Nasrec 2022. Photo: Tebogo Letsie
Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC conference in Nasrec 2022. Photo: Tebogo Letsie

The ongoing legal battle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, has left the ANC in a difficult position.

The party failed to deal with the matter when it started on the eve of the national conference in December, when Ramaphosa was re-elected as the party president.

Zuma is attempting to privately prosecute the president on grounds that Ramaphosa failed to act against senior prosecutor Billy Downer when his medical records were leaked. But Ramaphosa's lawyers have given Zuma an ultimatum to withdraw the summons or face legal action. The matter is set to be heard in court this month.

Newly elected ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula admitted that the party needs to quietly engage the two leaders to find a solution.

"We are not going to leave Zuma alone, but we are busy trying to engage him about the matter. We chose not to engage with him on public platforms," he said, adding that the ANC needs all its leaders and former leaders to rebuild the party ahead of the 2024 general election.

READ: Mbalula brings fresh energy to declining ANC

He was addressing the media on the party's state of readiness for its annual January 8 Statement, which is scheduled for Bloemfontein in the Free State this weekend.

He said that contrary to reports that the January 8 celebration was in doubt due to security concerns at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium, the celebration would continue as planned. 

READ: ANC must stop using disciplinary actions to settle political scores - Mokonyane

According to a letter dated December 21, the acting municipal manager of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality warned that the stadium would not be fit for use due to non-compliance.

The security risks mentioned in the letter included lack of a fire safety certificate, lack of an electrical certificate, lack of running water, vandalised toilets which do not flush, and lifts that are not working.

The manager also wrote that a part of the stadium had sunk. 

Mbalula lambasted the leaking of the communication between the party and the municipality, saying that:

We don't know who leaked the municipal manager's letter to the ANC, but it was reckless and wrong.

He said all the issues mentioned in the letter had been attended to, adding that the party could not secure other facilities because they were already booked for other events on the day.

Mbalula also revealed that the party would reconvene the conference which was adjourned on December 20. He argued that it was necessary to postpone concluding the conference because of logistical issues, including accommodation.

"It is a well-known fact that our finances are not good. We could not extend and finish the conference because that would have incurred more costs. But we are happy that our provinces agreed to carry some of the costs." 

On the Phala Phala report, he said the reconvening conference would not discuss the matter as it had already been referred to the national executive committee.

However, he confirmed that they would discuss amending the ANC constitution, as tabled at the conference.

Mbalula also said they would not discuss the issue of disciplinary proceedings against party members who defied the party line and voted with the opposition in Parliament to adopt the section 89 panel report last year. 

READ: How Cyril triumphed

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Supra Mahumapelo, Mosebenzi Zwane and Mervyn Dirks voted in favour of the adoption of a report which found that Ramaphosa had a case to answer for on impeachable offences relating to the Phala Phala scandal.

Their case was referred to the party's national working committee for disciplinary consideration.

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