Conduct of Zuma and his backers is nothing short of sedition

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Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma parade in front of his house, in Nkandla. Picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters
Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma parade in front of his house, in Nkandla. Picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters

VOICES


A man once given the rare privilege to serve as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces is attempting to push this country into the precipice.

The conduct of former president Jacob Zuma and his discredited sycophants including Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) leaders Kebby Maphatsoe and Carl lNiehaus, can correctly be regarded as an act of sedition.

This is a far cry from the conduct expected from progressive revolutionaries. Many will remember that the ANC took a decision to subject itself to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and in doing so made a bold statement about its commitment to justice, human rights and the entrenchment of a just, fair legal system as opposed to the judicial repression of the past.

READ: Zuma corruption trial finally set to be heard in May

By allowing its own conduct to be subjected to the TRC process the ANC buttressed its moral high ground as a revolutionary movement.

In its submission to the TRC the governing party asserted that “...we do acknowledge that the fact of a just struggle on its own does not render us or anyone else immune from judgement on humane or other conduct”.

By submitting itself to the TRC process, the ANC not only claimed its moral high ground but also led by example and demonstrated that the just cause of freedom did not exempt anyone from justice.

Contrary to the movement’s exemplary conduct, one of its former leaders believes he is above the law. In fact, one of his supporters who represents malcontents of our movement, Andile Lungisa, argued on national television that “former presidents must not be touched”. This is in stark contradiction to the bold position of the ANC in the TRC process. This is not the only departure from established ANC norms, in fact there is a pattern of gradual departure from ANC policy, theory and practice. The ANC has always appreciated that the success of the democratic project depends on the enduring respect and protection of our institutions.

Recently, Zuma made a scathing attack on the integrity of the judiciary without any shred of evidence to support his claims. This is inimical to the ANC’s position on the necessity to respect for the judiciary and its independence. He also criticised Parliament for what he regards as its failure to foster social cohesion in how it functions. But has his own conduct fostered social cohesion and non-racialism? Is the criticism of Parliament fair – it may be so – but is it innocent or is it part of a strategy to delegitimise democratic institutions?

We can all recall how some ministers, in a coordinated fashion, sought to refuse to appear before parliamentary inquiries on the state-owned enterprises and questioning the bona fides of those inquiries.

The democratic project is under threat from those who are supposed to protect it. In this context the issue of the MKMVA and some former army generals linked to MK is increasingly worrying. The founding manifesto of MK states that it supports and compliments the national liberation movement and that its “members jointly and individually, places themselves under the overall political guidance of that movement”.

The Morogoro Conference in Tanzania in 1969 in the strategy and tactics document, dealt with the relationship between the political and military. In this respect the document asserts: “From the very beginning our movement has brooked no ambiguity concerning this. The primacy of the political leadership is unchallenged and supreme and all revolutionary formations and levels [whether armed or not] are subordinate to this leadership.”

Nevertheless, the scenes and images we have seen outside Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal of young men clad in MK uniforms cast doubt on their credentials as MK veterans.
Khaya Magaxa And Sonwabile Ngxiza

Can we say today that the MK veterans subordinate themselves to the leadership of the movement? Their conduct simply reflects that the association has succumbed to the cult of personality to the extent of betraying their own sense of duty and patriotism.

Many might recall a very emotional Chris Hani lamenting the dissolution of MK without consultation but the revered chief of staff of MK also led from the front in implementing the decision as a disciplined cadre. How would Hani react to this reconstitution of MK as a private army for the former president? How would the founders of MK – such as Raymond Mhlaba, Wilton Mkwayi and Nelson Mandela among others – view these latest developments?

Nevertheless, the scenes and images we have seen outside Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal of young men clad in MK uniforms cast doubt on their credentials as MK veterans.

It is increasingly difficult to argue against those who view some of those fellows as nothing but thugs disguised as veterans.

Unfortunately, the leadership of the ANC is now being asked to prevent an impending political and constitutional crisis. This political intervention will compromise the credibility of the ANC.

Zuma refused political intervention when the SA Communist Party called for him to distance himself from the Guptas. He blatantly and arrogantly refused. The intended political intervention will be subjected to extra-judicial conditions which is unconstitutional.

In fact, the ANC’s TRC submission, which we cited earlier, acknowledged violations in its own conduct and proceeded to “set out the conditions under which any such violations may have occurred. But we emphasise that none of such violations arose out of official policy or were in any case sanctioned by the leadership”.

The question then arises, was Zuma’s alleged corruption sanctioned by the leadership? If not, why should the leadership intervene or persuade him? How many leaders are implicated in various testimonies at the Zondo commission and elsewhere in the judiciary?

READ: Zuma crisis ‘exposes ANC top six inadequacies’

Will the officials of the ANC intervene or persuade all of them, if so, then officials will have no time to execute their duties? If not, what is special about Zuma which would explain the selective special treatment?

The matter is now in the hands of the justice system which must dispense justice without fear, favour or prejudice.
Khaya Magaxa And Sonwabile Ngxiza

The wisdom of this decision is unpalatable.

Zuma’s mala fide intentions when he appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to head the commission have failed, now he questions the bona fides of the judiciary and through political interventions seeks to impose conditions, and compromises.

The matter is now in the hands of the justice system which must dispense justice without fear, favour or prejudice.

Trying to incite people under the poisonous spell of the cult of personality to rebel against the law is sedition. They must all be rounded up and arrested for obstruction of justice and Zuma must be arrested for contempt of court.

This cannot allow him to escape accounting for allegations of corruption, therefore he must still be hauled before Zondo in orange overalls to answer to each and every allegation of state capture.

Khaya Magaxa is SACP central committee member and ANC member of Parliament. Sonwabile Ngxiza is SACP Western Cape first deputy provincial secretary


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