Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will not respond to former president Jacob Zuma’s scathing letter to him in which he challenged his leadership.
On Monday evening, Ramaphosa led the ANC press conference which was briefing the country about the outcomes of the party’s special NEC meeting which was held at the weekend and where the issue of corruption linked to the party and its leaders dominated discussions.
This came in the wake of increasing reports of tender corruption scandals relating to the Covid-19 relief funds and the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs).
Ahead of the meeting, Ramaphosa penned a seven-page letter to ANC members in which he said the ANC was on the dock as “Accused No1” in relation to corruption allegations and called for all those charged to step aside while all those implicated had to subject themselves before the governing party’s integrity commission.
Zuma, however, responded with a scathing rebuttal to Ramaphosa’s letter and called on him to come clean on his CR17 campaign funds, which were used on his road to winning the party presidency and take over from him in 2017 at the Nasrec elective conference.
Zuma slammed Ramaphosa’s letter as “fundamentally” flawed, by calling the ANC as “Accused No1”, and charged that it played into the hands of those who sought to destroy the ANC.
“Apart from the fact that your letter betrays a lack of understanding of how the leadership of the ANC should communicate with its structures.
“It is absolutely unjustified to attribute to the entire ANC and its ordinary members, misconduct of a few individuals that have access to state power and its resources as well as ANC leadership positions,” Zuma wrote.
Ramaphosa said while he had received the letter from Zuma. He had not responded to it.
“I receive many letters as the president of the ANC and this letter is one of those. So, I have not responded. Obviously, the letter is being debated and being talked about.
“I don't even know what the reasoning for the letter was and I will not even publicly entertain issues that are raised in the letter,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa said his letter had been endorsed by the NEC after discussing it, alongside Zuma’s letter and other ANC leaders who lambasted Ramaphosa.
“The ANC emphasised that what seems to be a choreographed campaign against the president will not distract the movement from undertaking an intensified programme against corruption and state capture, as mandated by the 54th national conference,” Ramaphosa said.
Other people who wrote responding to Ramaphosa slamming his letter included Eastern Cape ANC firebrand Andile Lungisa.
ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe said the endorsement of Ramaphosa’s letter was part of protecting him from a choreographed attack within the party.
Mantashe took direct aim at Zuma for publicly attacking Ramaphosa.
“It is something that is almost a taboo for any official to attack his predecessor or successor.
“It is not done because there is a particular relationship between a successor and a predecessor and this plethora of letters went against that,” he said.
He said the letter by Zuma looked suspicious because there were other similar letters from other ANC leaders condemning Ramaphosa.
“It looks like a choreographed attack on the president and we have a responsibility to actually kill the choreographed attack on the president,” Mantashe said.