ANC step-aside resolution should also apply to corruption charged Jacob Zuma – analysts
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Durban - Some political analysts say that the ANC should have also applied its step-aside resolution to former president Jacob Zuma and serve him with a suspension letter as he has been indicted of corruption and is facing sentencing for defying the Constitutional Court.
This comes as the ruling party is cracking the whip, forcing members to step aside or, failing which, be suspended like its fraud, money laundering and corruption-accused Secretary-General, Ace Magashule.
Among those who are also affected by the step-aside resolution that was first adopted at the 2017 Nasrec conference and fully enforced last month, was former JB Marks (Tlokwe – Potchefstroom) mayor Kgotso Khumalo, and Western Cape legislature MPL Danville Smith. Both are facing corruption charges.
As part of enforcing the step-aside resolution, over the past weekend ANC NEC (national executive committee) member Bongani Bongo was kicked out of the NEC’s virtual meeting, but Zuma was left to take part in his capacity as an ex-officio member of the decision-making structure.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the former president took part in the meeting because his fate had not yet been discussed.
"We haven't had that kind of discussion and I don't want to formulate my own views about it," he said when asked why Zuma was allowed to sit throughout the meeting.
Political analyst Xolani Dube said it was suspicious that the NEC had failed to act on Zuma, yet it was swift to deal with Magashule and Bongo.
He said this would fuel long-held perceptions that the step-aside resolution was being enforced to deal with members like Magashule, Bongo and others who were thorns in the side of the dominant CR17 faction if the ruling party.
“As I have always said, the step-aside resolution was weaponised to deal with people like Magashule and Bongo. What is happening with the ANC NEC failing to kick Zuma out as well is confirming just that. If this was fairly applied, they should have kicked him out of the ANC meeting and further suspend him from taking part in any meeting or party political activities,” Dube said.
Moreover, Dube said the ANC’s failure to act tough on Zuma could be because the whole ANC NEC was afraid of the former head of state.
“I also think they are afraid of him, hence they could not serve him with a suspension letter or ask him to leave the virtual meeting of the NEC. Remember that Zuma is not just an ordinary member of the party,” he said.
Another political analyst, Professor Bheki Mngomezulu from the University of the Western Cape, said the step-aside resolution was questionable, and further casting doubt on why the NEC had delayed in enforcing it from January 2018.
He added that when they started implementing it they were supposed to do so across the board, and applying it selectively as was being done now was bound to raise suspicions.
In Zuma’s case, Mngomezulu said the ruling party’s hands were tied as he had previously told them that they were persecuting him together with his enemies, and any action against him now would make him cry foul again.
“However, he (Zuma) has cases in court, and like others, he was supposed to have been served with a suspension letter because some will say why allow someone facing corruption charges to address party events? But then the challenge with suspending Zuma is that he is a drawcard for the ANC when it comes electioneering, and they need him,” Mngomezulu said.