The radical economic transformation (RET) lobbyists in the ANC have threatened to haul President Cyril Ramaphosa before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and have indicated their resolve to fight to the bitter end for the control of the governing party and the release of former president Jacob Zuma from jail.
The group is planning for “peaceful” and “lawful” protest action next Tuesday at the Pietermaritzburg High Court where Zuma – currently serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court – will be seeking to quash the arms deal corruption allegations against him on the grounds that the National Prosecuting Authority was biased.
On Wednesday, in a statement issued by 19 RET activists, including well-known Zuma loyalists such as Carl Niehaus and Andile Lungisa, the group listed Ramaphosa among the 10 accused who they intend to report to The Hague for “indulging in ethnic or racist mobilisation, which had a resultant causal link in the Phoenix massacre, where more than 200 people lost their lives, [and] the final count of this racist-driven massacre is still to be announced”.
“The victims of Phoenix deserve and must have justice. We therefore call on progressive and all well-meaning South Africans, religious bodies, civil society movements and human rights organisations, both locally and internationally, to join and assist in the court case with the ICC in The Hague, as well the legal action that we are proceeding with locally, about the unfitness of President Ramaphosa to hold office,” read the statement, referring to the killings in the area of Phoenix in KwaZulu-Natal during the recent public unrest.
“It is evident that it was President Ramaphosa’s fundamentally wrong characterisation of the terrible unrest and demonstration of desperation by increasingly hopeless poor people that led to the preventable genocide that led the Indian community in Phoenix to mistakenly believe that it had carte blanche to arm itself and go on a killing spree of innocent ‘Zulu’ people,” the statement continued.
In terms of its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute atrocity crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC would get involved where a state party or the UN Security Council or the ICC prosecutor referred the crimes to the court.
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The RET statement was vague on the details of the allegations against Ramaphosa and crew, only stating that “a detailed charge sheet, that will be lodged with the ICC, is in the process of being prepared by our legal team [and], once the case has been lodged with the ICC, the full charge sheet will be made public”.
The co-accused, according to the RET lobbyists, included Ramaphosa’s Cabinet, Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise, chair of the national council of provinces Amos Masondo, the Parliament of South Africa, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Police Minister Bheki Cele, chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Lt-Gen Rudzani Maphwanya, chief of the South African Army Lt-Gen Lawrence Mbata and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole.
The RET activists also alleged that Ramaphosa had violated the Constitution with regard to the way the 25 000 SANDF troops were deployed to bring under control the public unrest that saw over 300 people lose their lives following Zuma’s incarceration a fortnight ago.
“The #FreeJacobZuma campaign reiterates our conviction that the continuing imprisonment of president Zuma is illegal, and that he is now the first political prisoner since the advent of democracy on April 27 1994”.
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They continued: “Our unequivocal demand remains that president Zuma be released forthwith. We also remain convinced that the implementation of RET, as contained in the critical socioeconomic demands that had been presented to President Ramaphosa – and which he so arrogantly refused to receive – is essential to bring peace and stability to our country. The acts of looting, criminal as they may be, have demonstrated that there can never be peace and stability without equality.”
The group also rejected “deliberate attempts to link our campaign to the violence and looting that took place over the past few weeks,” saying “the unfounded allegations that are levelled at the campaign are scapegoating of the worst kind by leaders and a government trying to escape their responsibility for having failed to address the legitimate and immediate needs and demands of South Africans, in particular poor black Africans, whose daily lives are invalidated by the most basic needs, and thus the resultant consequences that shook our country and the world”.