The ANC's national conference election results will hasten the “disintegration” and collapse of the ruling party, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Tuesday.
“Many ANC members and many more ANC voters are feeling alienated by today's decision in Mangaung.”
Zille said it was a sad day for South Africa because Jacob Zuma's re-election as African National Congress president sent out a message that this was a movement that put “powerful people” above the law.
“This is particularly clear globally, where it is just inconceivable that a president who has avoided, for three years, facing trial on over 700 counts of corruption, could be re-elected a party president.”
She was referring to Zuma's previous legal battle against corruption allegations, resulting from the fraud conviction of his former financial advisor Schabir Shaik.
In April 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges against Zuma, just months before he was elected into the country's top post.
The DA recently called on Zuma to take a leave of absence until allegations against him were dealt with.
Zille said Zuma's re-election also sent a message that “it is acceptable to use positions in government for personal enrichment, and not for public service”.
She was referring to a multi-million rand upgrade at Zuma's Nkandla home.
Zille said Tuesday's results showed that the abuse of public funds was acceptable in the ANC, and that there were no consequences.
She said Zuma's lack of leadership on any major policy questions would continue “as will the corruption and abuse of public resources that has so far characterised his time in office”.
Zille said the unemployed and poor South Africans particularly felt let down by the results.
“....as it is they who bear the real brunt of a president and government that cannot offer any implementable solutions for economic growth and job creation.
“We invite all South Africans who are disappointed by the ANC's decision today to join this movement (the DA) - this new majority that is working for, and delivering, meaningful social change and job creation in South Africa.” - Sapa