On Friday, Zuma will make his first appearance at the Durban High Court to have arms deal-related corruption charges officially reinstated against him.
“Nobody owns the ANC. If you commit crimes you must face the charges without calling the ANC to defend you as if when you were stealing you were doing it for the ANC, while you were stealing for yourself and your children,” Cele, who is also a memeber of the national executive committee (NEC), said on Sunday.
“Leave the ANC alone. Don’t say you were not warned when you don’t want to listen,” he said.
Cele was addressing hundreds of ANC supporters in Lamontville, south of Durban, during a celebration of his Struggle legacy, which had been organised by Ward 74.
Zuma will on Friday appear before Judge Themba Sishi on 16 charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering in connection with the controversial arms deal.
National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams recently reinstated the charges after he was effectively forced to do so by the North Gauteng High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal.
Cele reminded ANC leaders that although they were loved by party members, they did not own the ANC, which “is the heritage of the people of South Africa”.
“No one would leave and then the ANC disappear with him,” he said.
He re-emphasised the call of the ANC NEC for party structures to stay away from Zuma’s case.
“There is no ANC structure that is going to support any person who is facing charges of corruption. There is no one who is going to say my branch, region, province or any other structure is going to support someone who is facing crimes due to his own corruption,” he said.
He said the NEC had allowed Zuma’s supporters to go to court, “but they must never dress in ANC colours”.
The ANC Youth League, staunch Zuma supporters, said they would comply with the NEC’s instruction.