Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
3 Aug 2018
10:17 am

Zuma holds private meetings with allies at NEC lekgotla – report

Citizen Reporter

Sihle Zikalala was reportedly forced to defend himself after some NEC members asked about his meeting with Zuma, calling them 'mad' for confronting him.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to his supporters after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Former president Jacob Zuma held private talks with ANC leaders and government officials during the NEC lekgotla held this week, The Sowetan has reported.

Zuma is alleged to have met officials such as ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala and provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli in private at a holding room at Saint George Hotel in Irene on Monday and Tuesday.

An NEC member who asked to remain anonymous said: “The difficulty is that no one may ever know what they discussed. They met when we went for a break. We just saw them going into a meeting.”

Another ANC official said: “We do not know what they discussed, but the directors-general are implementers in government, and he had a relationship with some of them while he was a president.”

While another NEC member stressed Zuma had “a right of association”, he added: “We know that he has his faction in the ANC.”

It was also reported that on Thursday, Zikalala was forced to defend himself after some NEC members asked about his meeting with Zuma, calling them “mad” for confronting him.

He claimed to know nothing about a meeting with Zuma, but also said: “Why is it an issue to meet him? Is it wrong?”

READ MORE: Zikalala commits to unwavering support for Zuma

Zuma reportedly attended the lekgotla’s plenary session in which the committee on economic transformation made presentations, where he sat and listened without giving any input.

The former president’s spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, denied there were meetings, adding Zuma may have spoken to others attending the lekgotla socially. “During lunch breaks, they will sit and talk. I have checked his diary, there were no formal meetings. He was there for the lekgotla, nothing else.”

The Citizen reported last week that Zikalala had committed to offering continued support for Zuma during his court appearances on corruption charges.

The newly elected KZN ANC chairperson said certain sectors of society wished to see Zuma without any support during his legal battle, something he said would not happen.

The ANC provincial chair blasted the media for apparently misrepresenting his stance on showing support for Zuma through a misleading account of a radio interview where he spoke on the matter.

It was reported that Zikalala had made an about-turn, during an interview on SAfm on Monday, on his earlier call on the ANC to support the former president.

He said on radio that he had come to agree with the party’s national leaders that ANC members should not be allowed to use party structures, or appear in ANC colours, to mobilise support for anyone accused of corruption, including Zuma.

“They are writing stories without asking us any questions. They misrepresented an interview where I spoke with clarity on the matter and wrote their own lies,” Zikalala told the throng of supporters outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court, where Zuma appeared on Friday.

However, the Citizen had reported that Zikalala had clarified on Wednesday that they would not completely distance themselves from Zuma and that Zikalala still supported him. It would just not take place in an official manner through the party.

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