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By Lunga Simelane


‘Take the hint’: Analysts irked by Zuma’s plan to run for ANC chair

'He is just a strange person', said political analyst Ralph Mathekga. 'Zuma should not be an option.'

Jacob Zuma should take the hint and drop out of politics to focus on fighting his legal battles to clear himself of corruption charges, say analysts.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa cited age as a concern in relation to his predecessor’s plan to contest for the position of ANC chair at the party’s December elective conference, analysts believe Zuma should avoid the public space.

Ramaphosa welcomed the department of correctional services’ confirmation that Zuma’s prison sentence for contempt of court had expired, saying it was source of “great relief” to the ANC.

When questioned about Zuma’s interest in standing for ANC chair, Ramaphosa said he would be better suited to the key role of an elder by giving advice to the ANC.

“That would be a wonderful role,” he said.

NOW READ: Advisor would be a ‘wonderful role for Zuma’ – Ramaphosa

Zuma should ‘avoid public space’

Political analyst Levy Ndou said Zuma had a lot of cases to answer to in court and the presence of such a person tarnished the image of the party.

He said if he was actually properly advised, he should avoid being in the public space.

“His name has not been mentioned by provinces so that disqualifies him – but anything can change,” he said.

Ndou said in the ANC there was a group which was sympathetic to corruption and disorder – the same group which would support Zuma.

Too intricately involved

Another political analyst Ralph Mathekga said although this was a strange decision, the tradition was that once you had served in the highest position, you could serve as an elder, or advisor, on various platforms of the party, so as to not be personally involved.

Mathekga said the problem with Zuma was that he was too personally and intricately involved in ANC politics.

“He needs ANC members to support him when he goes to court and needs members to defend him in his own personal legal battles,” he said.

“That is why it becomes important for him to make himself available for the position of chair.”

ALSO READ: Has Manyi been fired as Zuma’s spokesperson?

‘Zuma should not be an option’

Mathekga said Ramaphosa was being circumspect by saying Zuma would be better served as an elder within the ANC – like others have done, such as former president Thabo Mbeki and former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

“In a sense, they have become more respectful as elders because they are not intimately involved in the outcomes of daily ANC politics, but with Zuma it was a different story.

“He is just a strange person,” he said. “Zuma should not be an option.”

‘Very controversial’

Political analyst André Duvenhage said this was a challenging time before the national conference of the ANC, as the situation with Zuma was extremely sensitive.

It was quite clear that Zuma did not take part in activities related to his court case and had a medical parole situation which was very controversial.

“I believe the full justice did not follow its well way. We would have liked to see Mr Zuma standing in court: if he is innocent, let him prove it, and if he is guilty, let the law go its way.

“Unfortunately, it did not happen that way and my take on it is that behind the scenes, there is some major corruption going on … which is putting the ANC as an organisation in risk,” he said.

“They are not prepared to deal with this situation by influencing senior politicians who know the details of too many stories.”

Zuma on being free again:

Zuma was relieved “to be free again and to walk around” and said it had been a day of “mixed emotions”, as well.

“I am relieved to do whatever I want without restrictions and having to seek permission, in the same manner I felt in 1973 when I was released from Robben Island,” he said

“Only this time, I am also filled with sadness. It was the first time ever that the Constitutional Court sentenced any person to a term of imprisonment – and without even the benefit of a trial”.

NOW READ: Zuma on expired sentence: ‘I am relieved, but also filled with sadness’

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African National Congress (ANC) Jacob Zuma