'He did not attack Zuma'

Eric Naki

The ANC caucus in the National Assembly has rejected weekend news reports that President Thabo Mbeki had attacked his deputy Jacob Zuma during a caucus meeting last week.

Weekend reports claimed that Mbeki had told MPs in Cape Town that they must "not vote for a criminal and rapist".

ANC caucus spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the party objects to "malicious reports that our president, Comrade Thabo Mbeki, made comments at the Special Meeting of our national caucus on November 20 which sought to attack our deputy president , Jacob Zuma".

Mothapo said Emmarentia Nawa, daughter of the late ANC MP, Zipporah Nawa, was invited to address the caucus on November 15

"Among other things, rightly or wrongly, she spoke about negative developments that had affected the ANC branch to which her mother had belonged. These included the allegation that rapists and other criminal elements had succeeded to capture the leadership of the branch. We are ready to supply her's statement to anybody who asks for a copy," he said.

He said when Mbeki addressed the caucus, he reminded MPs of what Nawa had said, adding that ANC members knew that the situation which she had described applied to other ANC branches throughout the country.

"This is true. Indeed, President Mbeki has raised this matter in previous meetings of our caucus. All of us understood that he raised this issue to encourage us to interact with our membership to defeat this negative development. At no time did he ever refer to Comrade Jacob Zuma," said Mothapo.

He said Mbeki meant to urge members to maintain the value system of the ANC and was not meant as a disguised attack on Zuma.

"We deeply regret the fact that some anonymous and undisciplined members of our caucus decided to speak to the media, contrary to our rules, to tell blatant untruths about what President Mbeki said," he said.