The ANC top brass is expected to outline its stance on the refusal of former president Jacob Zuma to appear before the Zondo commission.
And perhaps some comment on corruption accused ANC Secretary-General G Ace Magashule scheduled to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in this Friday, Feb.19, on 21 charges of fraud and corruption relating to an asbestos removal tender during his tenure as Free State premier.
Zuma looking to zoom past Zondo
Zuma was issued a summons to appear before the inquiry on Monday, after being implicated by several witnesses in allegations of state capture and corruption relating to his years as the head of state.
Zuma has been summoned to appear before the commission Monday, and the Constitutional Court has ruled that he has an obligation to comply with the summons and to answer questions put to him at the Commission.
The Zondo commission issued an advisory on Sunday in which it stated that it had set aside the whole of this coming week to hear Zuma’s evidence.
The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) that met at the weekend, reportedly discussed Zuma’s stated intention to defy the commission as well as the ANC’s “step aside” resolution which recommends that party leaders who are criminally charged must step aside from their positions.
The ANC has been unable to adopt a clear stance on the Zuma and Zondo saga, with warring factions clashing openly over which route to pursue.
Some are reportedly openly displaying support for the former president who indicated that he was prepared to be thrown in jail rather than appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has indicated that it would camp around Zuma’s Nkandla homestead to protect him from possible arrest over his defiance of the apex court’s order and the commission’s summons.
The Ace in the ANC pack
Magashule is among the ANC heavyweights who have been called upon to step aside by the party’s integrity commission on account of their alleged involvement in wrongdoing, but he has so far stubbornly refused to step down his post.
Several ANC NEC members have expressed support for Magashule, and the party is set to announce its finalised stance on how its contentious “step aside” resolution will be carried out against those facing prosecution.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the ANC faced the choice of either protecting its integrity or becoming a platform through which constitutional delinquency was allowed to thrive.
“There is no middle ground. This is not an issue that can be deferred for further consultation. They need to take a firm position on this.”
The party has meanwhile warned its members planning to head to the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court to support its corruption-accused secretary-general not to behave in a manner “perceived to be undermining the decorum” of the governing party.
And ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte was forced to apologize to DCJ Zondo following the publication of an article that characterized the commission and some of the testimony presented before it as “an onslaught against the people” of South Africa.