The ANC has raised concern over its member Carl Niehaus and what they call his attempts to “factionalise radical economic transformation [RET] into groupings”.
This followed a media briefing on Wednesday held by the Gauteng RET President [Jacob] Zuma Support Group where Niehaus gave a message of support to Zuma.
Niehaus took a swing at ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, saying he issued “hurtful words” regarding Zuma’s illness in an ANC statement.
“[Mabe] issued a statement with the deeply hurtful words: ‘if it is true that former President Zuma is ill… Suddenly… the onus to prove that [Zuma] is ill is placed on him,” Niehaus said.
Niehaus maintained Zuma was being vilified by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). He also accused Judge Dhaya Pillay, who is presiding over Zuma’s corruption trial in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, of tainting the reputation of the judiciary and plunging it into the political when she issued an arrest warrant for Zuma.
He said the NPA in Zuma’s trial “played politics in questioning President Zuma’s illness”.
The ANC has hit back following the media briefing.
“The ANC… notes with concern the continued attempts to seek to factionalise radical economic transformation into groupings, and particularly recent remarks attributed to comrade Carl Niehaus,” Mabe said.
“The ANC calls on its members to desist from using the name of [Zuma] and most recently his health concerns to stir divisions.
“The ANC has never discouraged anyone, both within and outside its ranks, to support comrade Zuma during his court appearances, as long as it does not interfere with the work of the judiciary and his right to a fair process,” Mabe said.
He added the current economic crisis is a call to work together to “get the country back on track”.
“At the same time, it is regrettable that these real challenges faced by our people are being used in ways that undermine the unity and image of the ANC and its capacity to unite the broadest range of South Africans to tackle… challenges,” Mabe said.