President Jacob Zuma's controversial son, Edward Zuma, has vowed to wear his ANC colours to court on Friday to support his father, in defiance of a party directive and a warning from Police Minister Bheki Cele, TimesLive reported.
Zuma will appear in court on 16 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering on Friday.
Addressing reporters after an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting recently, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said that while anyone was free to show their support for party members accused of corruption, they should not do so under the banner of the ANC.
"Individual members of the ANC and society have the right to express their sympathy and solidarity with the affected persons in their individual capacity, and not through any structures of the movement, including the ANC leagues and the MKMVA [uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association].
Members involved in such actions are discouraged from displaying ANC's paraphernalia and thus creating the false impression that the ANC as an organisation identifies with, or approves of, the misdemeanours of which any member or leader may be accused," he was quoted as saying, according to Business Day.
On Sunday, Cele reportedly repeated the point while addressing supporters in Lamontville, Durban, according to IOL.
He reportedly said: "Nobody owns the ANC. If you commit crimes, you must face the charges without calling the ANC to defend you as if when you were stealing you were doing it for the ANC, while you were stealing for yourself and your children. Leave the ANC alone. Don't say you were not warned when you don't want to listen.
"There is no ANC structure that is going to support any person who is facing charges of corruption. There is no one who is going to say my branch, region, province or any other structure is going to support someone who is facing crimes due to his own corruption."
While the NEC had allowed Zuma's supporters to attend court, Cele reportedly said "but they must never dress in ANC colours".
But on Tuesday, Edward Zuma said he would be supporting his father in court in ANC colours, according to TimesLive.
He reportedly said that, "as a member of the ANC myself‚ I shall be attending court in my own ANC shirt‚ unfortunately‚ leadership.
"I wish to take this opportunity and assist my leader comrade Bheki Cele by putting things into perspective. Firstly‚ the Zuma family‚ we did not mobilise any support nor are we in the business of such.
"It is people of South Africa who correctly believe that they need to support the former president Jacob Zuma as it's clear that the witch-hunt against JZ is being intensified from all corners and levels.
"It would be absurd to deny people the opportunity to show and vent their support and anger at these ludicrous charges laid against Jacob Zuma. The name of the ANC was never used by the Zuma family but its members of the ANC who are and we can't stop them."
The Weekend Argus reported that large crowds are expected in court on Friday to support Zuma. Various "business forums" reportedly met last week to plan how to support Zuma, while the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa reportedly said it was mobilising all sectors of society to support him.
The ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal, however, told the Weekend Argus it would abide by the ANC's instruction and that anyone attending the court case would do so in their personal capacity.