Zuma imprisonment a sad moment, we must be sensitive to people's pain - Cyril Ramaphosa tells NEC

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the imprisonment of Jacob Zuma as a sad moment. 
  • He said that despite the views on the sentence Zuma faced for contempt of court, the pain people felt should be acknowledged. 
  • Ramaphosa was addressing the ANC's NEC.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has broken his silence on the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, telling an ANC national executive committee (NEC) that the event is a sad moment in the history of the movement. 

Before delivering his political overview in the virtual meeting on Friday, the president noted that many people were pained by the decision. 

"Regardless of one's views on the Constitutional Court's decision and the appropriateness or lack thereof of the sentence, many within our movement and broader society feel this pain," he said.

Zuma was arrested on Wednesday evening after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt of court for disregarding an order to testify at the State Capture Inquiry, and sentenced him to 15 months behind bars. 

He was imprisoned at the Estcourt Correctional Facility and prison officials said he would be treated as an ordinary prisoner. 

"As we advance the principled stance of the organisation on our respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, we need to be sensitive to the genuine hurt that many people feel within our movement and outside," Ramaphosa told the ANC leaders. 

He said the party leadership needed to continue efforts to unite and renew the ANC and added: 

We have also seen progress in our various attempts at rooting out corruption and ill-discipline within our ranks, and also beginning the process, difficult as it is, in tackling factionalism. The events of the last two weeks have shown the difficulty of this task. It does not happen in a linear fashion; there are lots of detours. We have witnessed concerted attempts to sow division in our ranks and destabilise our organisation by forces intent on pursuing narrow interests. These forces, both within our ranks and outside our movement, are threatened by the process of renewal and rebuilding that is ongoing.

Before the ANC meeting, Ramaphosa spoke to KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala and asked for an update on violent protests against Zuma's imprisonment that ripped through KwaZulu-Natal.

Zikalala told News24 he believed Ramaphosa should consider pardoning Zuma in a quest to calm tensions, but political insiders dismissed the suggestion as premature and misplaced. 

The NEC meeting came after the party held a special NEC meeting on Monday where the Constitutional Court judgment and its implications were discussed. 

Zuma was told to leave that meeting and party leaders expressed concern that he and his supporters were undermining the apex court. 

Ramaphosa told party leaders that the ANC must act as, and be seen to be, the leader of society

"Most importantly, if the leadership of the ANC is not respected, we cannot say we lead society. Leadership is earned through illustrating to the people that we respect them, respect the laws of the country and conduct ourselves with humility and integrity. We must deal with the issue of discipline and adherence and respect for the constitution of the ANC," he said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Facebook is facing a fresh crisis after a former employee turned whistle-blower leaked internal company research. Do you still use Facebook?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the benefits outweigh the risk for me
33% - 1787 votes
No, I have deleted it
38% - 2079 votes
Yes, but I am considering deleting it
30% - 1630 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.