This comes after the reinstatement of criminal charges on 16 counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering against Zuma by the National Prosecuting Authority.
On Sunday, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said that while members of the ANC would not be stopped from giving moral support to Zuma throughout his trial, they could not associate the ANC in any way with their actions.
“Individual members of the ANC and society have the right to express their sympathy and solidarity with the affected persons in their individual capacity, and not through any structures of the movement including the ANC leagues and the MKMVA.
“Members involved in such actions are discouraged from displaying the ANC’s paraphernalia and thus creating the false impression that the ANC as an organisation identifies with, or approves of, the misdemeanours of which any member or leader may be accused,” Magashule said.
Magashule was speaking following a three-day national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Cape Town over the weekend which took the decision in Zuma’s presence, as he attended as an ex-officio member.
Magashule said the party regarded Zuma as innocent despite charges against him in the so-called "spy tapes saga", as it was a universal principle to presume a person innocent until they were proven guilty by a court of law.
He admitted, however, that while the party did not want to be associated with Zuma’s criminal trial - which could dent the ruling party’s image ahead of the 2019 elections - it woud be difficult to stop people from defending Zuma.