Former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Pool
Durban - Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma in KwaZulu-Natal say the ANC national executive committee (NEC) can’t “disassociate” itself from the party’s former leader.

On Friday, Zuma is expected to make his second court appearance after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reinstated charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering over his involvement in the arms deal.

The charges were controversially withdrawn in 2009, on the eve of that year’s general elections.

The DA later challenged the withdrawal of the charges in the Constitutional Court, and in November last year the NPA announced it would prosecute Zuma once again.

Zuma has been charged alongside French arms maker Thales, which allegedly bribed him to benefit in the R40billion arms procurement deal while he was Kwa- Zulu-Natal economic development MEC.

Carl Niehaus, speaking at a press conference, called for Zuma’s supporters in the ANC to defy the party’s leadership.

“My membership of MKMVA (the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association) and of the ANC can never be suspended,” said Niehaus.

At the press briefing held at ANC MPL Bishop Vusi Dube’s eThekwini Community Church, Niehaus, church leaders, business associations and Black First Land First president Andile Mngxitama said they were mobilising their supporters to come out in big numbers to support Zuma.

Niehaus said the NEC was wrong in instructing ANC members not to dress in party regalia and colours when they go to court to support Zuma.

“I said it before and I am saying it again, as the former president of the ANC, comrade OR Tambo, said to me once, ‘you never take a decision that you cannot implement and that would divide the ANC’.

“On those two scores the NEC has failed. I am happy to say, secretary-general comrade Ace Magashule, that the decision will not be enforced,” he said.

He said MKMVA would take part in the June 8 and 9 events without fear, “not because we want to be rebels or disregard the decisions or want to be ill-disciplined toward the ANC as the mother body”.

Comradeship

“But it is because we believe that comradeship must be extended all the way. We believe that comrade Jacob Zuma, who has been commander-in-chief of MK and of our military forces in South Africa, and who was feared by the Boers, needs to be supported by the comrades of MKMVA,” said Niehaus.

Bishop Timothy Ngcobo, spokesperson for church leaders, said that on Thursday between 5pm and 7pm a motorcade would drive around the Durban CBD mobilising people to go to Albert Park to participate in a night vigil.

He said there would be a march from King Dinuzulu Park to the Durban High Court, where Zuma would address his supporters after his court appearance.

Mngxitama said that instead of prosecuting Zuma, the government should have arrested former president FW de Klerk for apartheid crimes.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not respond to questions sent to him about what actions would be taken against party members who would defy the party instruction not to use party colours and regalia to support Zuma.