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Zuma’s defiance to be discussed at ANC NEC meeting

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Former president Jacob Zuma’s reluctance to appear before the Zondo Commission of enquiry and the vaccine rollout is expected to dominate proceedings at the meeting.

Former president Jacob Zuma is to take part in an ANC NEC meeting. Photo by Kim LUDBROOK / POOL / AFP)

Johannesburg – The ANC national executive committee (NEC) is set to meet former president Jacob Zuma, who says he will defy a Constitutional Court ruling to appear before the Zondo Commission virtually, this weekend.

Zuma’s decision and the controversy around the Covid-19 vaccine sourced from India, only to be found not suitable for the new SA variant, is expected to dominate proceedings.

Last week, shortly after Zuma’s defiance, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said it was unexpected that Zuma would pull such a stunt, and his defiance would be discussed at the meeting.

Yesterday, Mabe said Zuma, as a former leader of the party, was invited to the virtual meeting, as was former president Thabo Mbeki.

“It’s pretty standard – all ex-officio’s are standing invitees to the NEC. We have responded to this question before. We have always clarified to the media that the agenda of the NEC only gets to be agreed upon when the meeting resumes. Former presidents of the ANC are invited to attend the NEC in an ex-officio capacity.

“Former president Mbeki and former president Zuma are the two remaining former presidents of the ANC, and are therefore accorded ex-officio status in NEC meetings,” Mabe said when asked about Zuma’s presence the meeting.

Piling pressure on Zuma to change his stance, the ANC Veterans’ League (ANCVL), led by Dr Snuki Zikalala, without naming Zuma, said all party members must honour dates with the Zondo commission. This was contained in the league’s post-NEC meeting statement on Monday.

“On the Zondo Commission, the ANCVL expect all ANC members to comply with the decision of the ANC that its members should co-operate fully with the commission,” it said.

Concerning the agenda regarding the “step aside” resolution before the ANC meeting, the league said all resolutions, including the one taken in August last year, should be implemented.

“The NEC is therefore charged with considering how best to implement these resolutions, in the context of prevailing, concrete conditions. The ANC NEC reaffirmed the position taken at its meeting of July 31 to August 2, 2020, that the ANC needs to draw a clear line in the sand between the organisation and those who steal and commit other crimes against the people,“ it said.

“It further reaffirmed the decisions on the steps towards implementation of conference resolutions, as agreed at its meeting of August 28 to 30, 2020, and communicated by the officials through the NEC statement after this meeting.

“The NEC stressed that there could be no retreat from the positions taken and that these decisions be implemented even handedly to all members… In its deliberations, the ANCVL NEC stressed – echoing the ANC NEC – that, in dealing with matters of integrity and the fight against corruption, remedial action should be applied in an even-handed manner to members at every level of the organisation. We noted that inconsistent application of rules and the constitution of the ANC undermines the unity of the movement,.

For months, the ruling party has failed to implement a resolution it took in August last year that all members accused of corruption or wrongdoing had to step aside. At some point last year, the resolution was found to be unconstitutional when the ruling party asked for a legal opinion. This was while others said it could be enforced.

The ANC in KZN, which had suspended corruption-accused former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, later reinstated her when the provincial integrity commission cleared her.

The wrestling over the implementation of the “step aside” resolution became a thorny issue when former minister Bongani Bongo refused to abide by it, saying he wanted to be told exactly why should he do so when no court had found him guilty.

The need to address this came after the national Integrity commission asked the ruling party’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, to step aside pending the finalisation of his corruption trial. Magashule is also digging in.

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Political Bureau