Sihle Zikalala. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Sihle Zikalala. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Newly elected ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman Sihle Zikalala made an about-turn on his support for Jacob Zuma, now saying it is wrong to support the former president in court, where he is facing graft charges.

This was despite him attending Zuma’s appearance in court in June to show his support.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal reportedly took a decision at its conference at the weekend to engage the party’s top leadership, the national executive committee, over its decision that ANC structures should not support the former president during his corruption trial.

In the past ANC provincial and regional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal, the party’s biggest and most influential province, have defied the national executive committee decision that ANC members should not use party structures to support leaders charged with fraud and corruption, or wear ANC colours when they appeared in court.

Speaking during an interview on SAfm on Monday, Zikalala changed his stance, saying it was wrong to support Zuma when he appeared in court and the new provincial leadership would not use ANC structures to mobilise support for him when he appears later this week or in the future.

“We sympathise and respect former president Jacob Zuma and we understand that he enjoys support within our structures. But going forward, we will not use ANC offices and other resources to support him when he is going to court.

“Individual members and leaders can do so without involving the ANC,” he said.

Zikalala, who has always been a staunch Zuma supporter, was elected provincial chairman, unopposed, at the conference on a mixed unity slate, very much like the leadership elected at the ANC’s Nasrec conference.

Mike Mabuyakhulu, who supported President Cyril Ramaphosa at the national conference, took the position of deputy chairman and Mdumiseni Ntuli that of provincial secretary. Mabuyakhulu and Ntuli beat Premier Willies Mchunu and former secretary and staunch Zuma ally Super Zuma to the two key posts.

Zikalala said the rule of law needed to be defended and protected and people needed to accept court decisions.

With Genevieve Quintal