'Case or no case, Zuma will be president'

Anna Majavu and Canaan Mdletshe

Anna Majavu and Canaan Mdletshe

The ANC yesterday made it clear that they would have the party's president Jacob Zuma as the next president of the country and no one else.

"Zuma is not a factory fault. Case or no case, we will put him in the Union Buildings!"

This was the message yesterday from ANC national organiser Fikile Mbalula, speaking to about 1000 ANC members in Tafelsig on the Cape Flats.

In KwaZulu-Natal the same call was made. "We will do everthing in our power to ensure that Zuma becomes the president of the country," said provincial chairman Zweli Mkhize to thousands of supporters at Pietermaritzburg's Qokololo Stadium.

In Cape Town former ANCYL leader Fikile Mbalula and ANC heavyweights, including Tony Yengeni, briefed ANC election campaign volunteers before sending them on door-to-door visits.

Amid growing speculation that Zuma plans to "spill the beans" about former president Thabo Mbeki's role in the arms deal, Mbalula told the crowd: "Zuma never started the arms deal. The arms deal was started by someone else who was ANC president before Zuma."

The ANC national working committee meets today to devise a plan to prevent Zuma from standing trial.

But yesterday the ANC moved quickly to squash suggestions that one of Zuma's strategies would be to spill the beans on Mbeki in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

"This is definitely not one of his legal strategies. It is pure speculation," ANC spokesman Carl Niehaus told Sowetan yesterday.

The heavyweight ANC team will be a permanent fixture in the Western Cape until the end of March.

This after secretary-general Gwede Mantashe announced that the team would take over the ANC's Western Cape election campaign, sidelining provincial leaders.