POLITICS
05/06/2018 07:29 SAST | Updated 05/06/2018 07:31 SAST

ANC NEC Was Wrong When It Decided ANC Members Should Not Support Zuma – Niehaus

This is the view of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus.

Foto24 via Getty Images

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) was wrong when it previously decided that ANC members should not support former president Jacob Zuma when he appeared in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban for corruption.

This is the view of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus.

"The former president of the ANC, OR Tambo once told me, you never take a decision that you cannot implement, and you never take a decision that would divide the organisation. Out of those scores, the NEC of the ANC failed," he added.

Niehaus was speaking at a press briefing in Durban on Monday, held to unveil plans ahead of Zuma's court appearance on Friday, June 8.

MARCO LONGARI via Getty Images

Zuma is facing 16 charges which related to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal.

A vigil is expected to be held ahead of Zuma's next court appearance the following day.

"As MKMVA, we will participate in the events of the 7th and the 8th, not because we want to be rebels or disregard the decision of the ANC as our mother body, but because we believe that comradeship should extend all the way," said Niehaus.

He said the association believed that someone with Zuma's history, "who was one of the most successful commanders of MK, ought to be supported by the comrades of MKMVA".

"No soldier allows another soldier to be left behind on the battleground," he said.

Niehaus added that members of the MKMVA would be in full military combat during the two days.

"They will give a special guard of honour to leadership who will participate in the vigil, and especially to Msholozi when he moves from the court to the stage, where masses will be gathered in front of the court," he said.

He dismissed reports that Zuma had no support in the country when it came to the case.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"Anyone who tries to say he (Zuma) doesn't have the support in South Africa doesn't understand the politics of the country and doesn't understand the reality of the very broad and large number of South Africans who strongly associate themselves with what president Zuma had been working for,'' he said.

He said Zuma championed free education, land expropriation without compensation, the transformation of the country's economy for everyone to benefit and the state bank.

Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama said more than 15 civil organisations would also support the "Hands Off Zuma" campaign on the day of his court appearance.

"Zuma is being persecuted because of his programme of radical economic transformation which has been rejected, as we speak, by the current leaders of the ANC," he said.

He added that, since President Cyril Ramaphosa took over office from Zuma, "the country is no longer in our hands".

He said the reason Zuma's charges had been "revived" was politically driven.

Nkosentsha Shezi of Radical Economic Transformation Champions said they also in fully supported Zuma and believed that charges were politically motivated.

"Zuma fought for previously oppressed people. We don't buy the story that he is corrupt. We are calling upon the courts to withdraw the charges against Zuma because they have no basis in law," said Shezi.

"To the current sitting president (Ramaphosa), as black business we are still hungry. We still lack opportunities and we are waiting for tangible benefits."

The religious leaders organising the night vigil and march to court, said they did not have funders to host the events but used their own resources.

"We use our own resources and we knock on the doors of businesses and ask for donations. We also use sound systems from our own churches," said Bishop Timothy Ngcobo.

From 17:00 to 19:00 on Thursday, a motorcade is expected to start at Victoria Embarkment to Anton Lembede Street and Dr Pixley kaSeme Street, to the night vigil at Albert Park, Ngcobo said.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

He said the night vigil will start at 19:00.

On Friday, from 07:00 to 09:00, there is expected to be a march from King Dinizulu Park to Victoria Embarkment, where they are expected to gather outside the court.

Zuma is expected to address supporters around 10:00 to 11:00, said Ngcobo.

News24