The long-awaited meeting between former president Jacob Zuma and the ANC’s top 6 over his refusal to testify at the state capture inquiry will finally take place today, but political analysts are already predicting a stalemate.
THE LONG-awaited meeting between former president Jacob Zuma and the ANC’s top 6 will finally take place today in Johannesburg, but political analysts say Zuma is not likely to change his mind.
ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Dakota Legoete said the meeting between Zuma and the top 6, led by party president Cyril Ramapahosa, would be about the “ANC’s renewal programme and (Zuma’s) no show at (the) Zondo Commission.”
However, Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, a political lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, said history has shown that Zuma hardly changes his mind on issues and the meeting would likely end in a stalemate.
“Zuma is always principled, once he says something he does not change. I don’t see him appearing before Zondo. The top 6 would be pouring water on a duck’s back, I don’t see him changing his stance at all,” Mngomezulu said.
Another political analyst, Xolani Dube from Xubera Institute for Research and Development, said Zuma is caught between a rock and a hard place, changing his stance mid-air would make him look like someone who cannot be trusted and he can lose relevance.
“His political relevance depends on appealing to all those who are anti-establishment and feel aggrieved by the new administration. It would be suicidal for him to change his mind because he has created an expectation that he will defy the commission.
“He would not like to be seen as someone like Ramaphosa and someone who is spineless. Basically, I am saying he is not likely to change his mind … if he backtracks, he will find himself dumped by his supporters and having a lonely journey during his upcoming corruption trial,” Dube said.
The ANC alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu, said the matter is for the ruling party to resolve. They would not like to tell the ANC how to handle it should Zuma continue with his defiance.
The spokesperson of the communist party, Dr Alex Mashilo, said the ruling party must decide how it deals with wayward members like Zuma.
“The ANC as an independent formation reserves the right to interact with its members and give them direction when the stances they adopt as individuals go against its own decisions. The SACP respects that primary position of the ANC in relation to its members,” he said.
Mashilo reminded Zuma that he was once a president and took an oath to defend the Constitution which he is now threatening by defying lawful summons and commands of the courts.
“Former president Jacob Zuma was the president of the Republic. He took an oath of office, not once but more than that, pledging allegiance to the Constitution, meaning that he knew the consequences of not complying with the democratically adopted supreme law of the Republic.
“This implies that he is in a good position to remind others about the consequences of not complying with the rule of law, for him unlike millions of South Africans has occupied the highest office of the land.
“With that said, it is clear that the law was not written with only those who comply in mind but was also written for those who do not comply in mind. Thus, there are due processes in terms of law to address both situations to ensure that the rule of law takes its course regardless of who is implicated.”
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla gave a similar response to Independent Media. He said the Zuma matter is not political but it has everything to do with the law and its application.
“This is not a political issue but a judicial issue. Zuma set up the commission as a president and he was a president because the Constitution gave him the powers to be one under our electoral law.
“It is up to the ANC, as a leader of society to deal with its members, especially because this decade, according to Mangaung, is supposed to be the decade of the cadre. For us, this is a judicial matter and the judicial process should apply. Our recently held CEC (central executive committee) meeting reaffirmed its support for the Constitution,” he said.
Zuma has previously stated publicly that he would not appear before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry until the chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, recused himself. He accused Zondo of bias, a claim the deputy chief justice dismissed as baseless.
In recent weeks, many parties tried but failed to convince Zuma to change his mind about Zondo. This included EFF president Julius Malema who flew to Zuma’s home at Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Police Minister Bheki Cele also held a meeting with Zuma even though its purpose was never made public.
After the meetings, Zuma’s family told the media, through his eldest son Edward, they had advised the former president against appearing before Zondo. However, this has not stopped the stampede at Nkandla, with various individuals and organisations visiting Zuma to either show allegiance and support, or to try convince him to appear before Zondo for the sake of the country’s constitutional democracy.