PARTY TAKES SIDES
Why Zuma's charges are dividing the ANC in KZN
The impending fraud, corruption, racketeering and money-laundering charges against former president Jacob Zuma are deeply dividing the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.
National director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams has announced the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will proceed with the prosecution, thus ending a nine-year battle to have the charges reinstated.
Zuma, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal, is said to have support in some of the ANC’s structures in the province.
Party supporters have taken sides on the matter with the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal, saying it will support Zuma. The case was brought by the agents of "white monopoly capital" fighting Zuma’s commitment to the "radical economic transformation", it said.
"We will mobilise our members, and the youth in general, to head to the Pietermaritzburg High Court in support of former president Jacob Zuma. He is our hero and he deserves our support," provincial league chairman Kwazi Mshengu said.
"We believe that these charges are brought by his political enemies to deal with him. This case was thrown out of court by the late Judge Qedusizi Msimang and Judge Chris Nicholson because the state had violated former president Zuma’s right. The state will fail again this time and … Zuma needs our support and we will provide it in court," he said.
The party is still split between those who supported former AU head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa in the ANC presidential election. Efforts to patch up the differences have failed.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said as ANC structures in KwaZulu-Natal were still divided along the lines of preconference factions, support for Zuma would be mixed.
The ANC’s national executive committee had to manage this matter "very delicately" because if it failed it would "open a gap for opportunists to take charge and mobilise people", Khumalo said. "The ANC cannot afford this, especially now that it will be facing general elections in the months in which the case is likely to take place."
Khumalo doubted whether Zuma would be able to muster "the kind of support he got during his fraud and corruption cases years ago".
"This is because then many people thought he was a victim of a conspiracy. But now people have realised that Zuma has managed to attract negative publicity over the past few years. His nine years in office have been a disaster and many people associate him with the corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering that he is accused of," Khumalo said.