PIETERMARITZBURG - Following the embarrassing booing of KZN ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala and provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli, former president Jacob Zuma reined in his supporters, telling them that the act was uncalled for.
Zuma gave his supporters a tongue-lashing outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court where he had appeared earlier to face his corruption charges.
This was after almost the entire crowd of supporters, who were in full ANC regalia and waving the ruling party’s flags, booed and drowned out Zikalala and Ntuli while they tried to address them.
As part of its decision, the ANC in KZN resolved that it should be present in court to show its support for the embattled former president.
However, things took a nasty turn when, after the court proceedings, on the park across from the court, they were booed. Trouble started when Ntuli took to the podium as the MC of the day. The supporters chanted Ace Magashule’s name while waving thumbs-down and using their hands as a gesture for change.
Some openly called Ntuli a “Judas Iscariot” and a “traitor”.
The same booing happened when Ntuli invited Zikalala to speak. They were both booed, but despite that Zikalala made his brief remarks and left the podium.
WATCH: Here is a longer video showing the booing of KZN ANC chairperson, Sihle Zikalala & prov secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli. The angry crowd in ANC regalia accused them of being "sellouts" & dumping former President Jacob Zuma while copying up to Cryil Ramaphosa. @IOL #ZumaTrial pic.twitter.com/7eABVVBrdk— Sihle Mavuso (@NewsBotZA) May 17, 2021
The supporters drowned out Zikalala by singing “Wenzeni uZuma - what has Zuma done?”
Speaking last, Zuma said the hostile act was displayed at the wrong platform, adding that it would likely please the ruling party’s enemies and weaken his support base as he goes to face his graft trial.
He pleaded with the supporters not to repeat it and that if there were issues, they should be dealt with in ANC structures.
“We cannot afford to embarrass those who are not on our side and who are our enemies and make them happy. How I wish that next time you remember that I registered my discomfort (about the booing),” Zuma said.
With battle lines drawn between the CR17 faction and the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction backing suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, the platform was used to indirectly hit back at party president Cyril Ramaphosa and his backers.
Indirectly, the first person to hit back at the CR17 faction was Tony Yengeni, an ANC NEC member who told them that RET is not a thumb-suck concept but an ANC policy.
Magashule himself took a deeper jab when he said no one can bar him from speaking during ANC events, in apparent reference to the instruction that while he is on suspension he cannot address ANC members.
“I will never be banned from the ANC,” Magashule said.