The ANC has slammed its members who broke ranks on Monday and defied the party’s directive not to speak out against the decisions of its high decision-making body, the national executive committee (NEC).
This followed former president Jacob Zuma’s appearance in the Pietermaritzburg high court for his arms deal corruption trial, where several senior ANC leaders showed up to support him. The case was postponed to 26 May 2021.
Among those who came in support of Zuma included suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and KwaZulu-Natal Premier and ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala as well as ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe on Tuesday morning came down hard against the NEC members who defied the structure’s decisions.
Mabe said the behaviour of the NEC members was “ill-disciplined” and the party’s national working committee (NWC) and NEC would soon meet and reflect on what happened outside court.
“When we meet again either in the NWC or in the NEC, we shall be able to reflect on the developments, especially what we saw yesterday including the conduct of some of our own NEC members who decide to go against decisions of the NEC, decisions that are taken in meetings that they’re present in,” Mabe told SABC’s Morning Live programme in an interview.
“If you’re in a meeting of the NEC and a decision is taken, even if you do not like that decision, you don’t break ranks and speak against the decisions of the collective. That’s ill disciplne. You’ve got to use the structures of the organisation to be able to ventilate and express your own views.”
‘I will not form any party, I will die in the ANC’
Speaking outside the court, Magashule said he would never leave or be banned from the ANC over his suspension. His statements defied the terms of his suspension not to mobilise any structure of the ANC or any organisation or person on any ANC matters.
“I can assure you, nobody under a democracy will ban me. Nobody will remove the ANC from me. Even though we are upset, we still respect the leadership of the ANC. I will not form any party, I will die in the ANC,” he said.
Magashule has taken the ANC to court seeking to overturn his suspension. The ANC confirmed on Monday it would oppose his application.
Meanwhile, Yengeni said they owed no one an apology for being in court to support Zuma.
He claimed the National Prosecuting Authority was being used to settle political scores in the ANC.
“We’re not going to apologise to be here as members of the ANC to support comrade Jacob Zuma,” Yengeni said.
‘We’re going to confuse our people’
Mabe said he expected senior leaders of the ANC to lead by example and their actions were at odds with the organisation’s aim to renew itself and strive for unity.
“Those that are old and have had the opportunity to lead the organisation longer than some of us carry the responsibility to teach young generations the essence of discipline.
“The unity of the ANC only gets to be propelled forward through a disciplined cadreship that is loyal to decisions of the collective [and] does everything else to demonstrate that we all want the renewal of the ANC. So, some of the things that we saw outside there, when the NEC or NWC meets, it would have to reflect on this,” he said.
If we are not loyal to our own decisions, we are going to confuse our people.
Mabe added that the KZN delegation led by Zikalala had permission from the ANC to support Zuma in court.
“These are matters that were properly processed in the organisation, those cadres didn’t just go there. What becomes unfortunate is when statements that go against the decisions of the NEC… that is the matter the NEC ought to attend to.”