Party announces suspension of Niehaus
ANC 'saddened' by Jacob Zuma's imminent 15-month incarceration
The ANC has expressed sadness over the imminent arrest of former president Jacob Zuma as the party announced the suspension of one his staunchest backers, Carl Niehaus.
Niehaus, who is Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson, was slapped with immediate suspension by the party yesterday as he faces disciplinary action for making “inflammatory speeches” while he, other MKMVA members and other Zuma supporters camped outside Nkandla to protect Zuma from being arrested.
Turning focus on the pending Zuma arrest, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party was saddened by his imminent 15-month incarceration, which is a result of his conviction for contempt of court by the Constitutional Court.
“It is indeed a sad day. We had never imagined that one day in the life of our own democracy we would have to deal with a situation like this. But law enforcement agencies are independent from the ANC and the ANC will never want to be seen to be interfering with the work that they are doing,” Mabe said.
Zuma was found guilty of contempt of court late last month after he defied an order of the apex court to abide by the summonses of the Zondo commission where he was requested to attend and answer to state capture allegations.
Mabe insisted that the suspension of Niehaus from the party had nothing to do with his support for Zuma. “The ANC will never purge any one of its members from displaying support for an individual leader of the ANC. People in SA have a freedom of movement and we cannot tell our comrades where to go and where not to go,” he said.
He said the party will, however, not hesitate to act against actions that sought to undermine its standing, liquidate and take away its responsibility to lead.
Niehaus had described Zuma’s conviction as a result of a plot by law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, assisted by some leaders within the ANC, to target those who supported “radical economic transformation, including suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule”.
Niehaus blasted the NEC and accused the party of factionalism.
He is among those who have vowed to form a “human shield” to protect Zuma from being arrested by law enforcement agencies.
After the receipt of his suspension letter, Niehaus took to social media and said he would appeal against his suspension by the party “with immediate effect”.