KZN ANC not really dumping Zuma, Zikalala clarifies
The newly elected KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala sought to clarify on whether the party will be supporting former president Jacob Zuma when he appears for his corruption trial on Friday.
Speaking to the SowetanLIVE on Monday night, Zikalala said that KwaZulu-Natal ANC members will not be barred from supporting Zuma in their personal capacity.
“We will still, as individual members, continue to support president Zuma,” he said.
It was reported early on Monday that Zikalala had said it was wrong for ANC members to support Zuma in court.
“It is our duty to protect and defend the rule of law, and accept court decisions once they are taken. We cannot then turn around and support leaders who are appearing in court and facing such charges,” Zikalala was quoted as saying in a SAfm interview.
In clarifying his position, Zikalala later said they will not be using official party channels to organise ANC members to support Zuma but that they will not be dumping the former president.
“What we will never do is to use the T-shirts of the ANC or to organise support as per the organisation and that must be understood. I will never say ANC people are banned from going to support president Zuma,” Zikalala said, who confirmed that he will form part of the people who will support Zuma in court.
Zuma, who commands massive support in the KwaZulu-Natal, will appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to face 18 charges of corruption, money-laundering and racketeering.
The ANC national leadership took a decision at its national conference in December in Nasrec that party members must not wear party regalia when showing support for their members appearing in court.
“What we’re saying is that we respect the ANC NGC [national general council] decision that members of the ANC must not use the regalia of the ANC in such forums but individuals are not banned from going there to support former president,” Zikalala said.
“We respect that decision; we’re not going to undermine it. We will live with it, it is the decision that is ours. And the decision does not say that people must not go but it says nobody should use the organisation in supporting a person who’s charged.”
Zuma’s spokesman Vukile Mathabela refused to comment on the matter, saying only the matter formed part of an internal issue. He added that Zuma will abide by any decision taken by the party.