‘Zuma is actively impugning the integrity of the ANC’ – Mbalula announces former president’s suspension

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula said that reconciliation with the former president was impossible.

The ANC has suspended former president Jacob Zuma as an ANC member.

This was revealed by the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) on Monday, though Zuma’s suspension will only be processed by the party’s disciplinary committee after the elections, and he will go through a disciplinary process then.

The disruptive ‘JZ project’

This came as the NEC concluded its scheduled two-day meeting. On the sidelines of the meeting, the party’s Secretary General Fikile Mbalula briefed the media on Zuma’s suspension, calling the “JZ project” one that “riles up a political base that foments social unrest”.

“Former president Jacob Zuma is actively impugning the integrity of the ANC and campaigning to dislodge the ANC from power while claiming that he has not terminated his membership.

“This conduct is irreconcilable with the spirit of organisational discipline and letter of the ANC constitution.

“Pursuant to this, the NEC, during its ordinary meeting held from 26-29 January 2024, resolved to invoke Rule 25.60 of the ANC Constitution: ‘If justifiable exceptional circumstances warrant an immediate decision of temporary suspension of a member without eliciting the comment or response of such member as contemplated above, the NEC, the NWC, the PEC or the PWC, as the case may be, may summarily suspend such member’.”

No chance of reconciliation

Then, in answering questions from the media, Mbalula said the ANC had not taken long to take action against Zuma, as some had believed. Nor had the former president shown any sign of wanting to reconcile with the ANC regarding his frustrations with the party before campaigning for the MK.

“When someone is disruptive… you rally your forces, your observe their activities and the determination of an individual to get somewhere with what they have announced.

“We have seen people who have made clarion calls and took decisions, only to find that they are not firm. Secondly, you have to put across the view that says [former] president Zuma is almost a stalwart. He is old in the ANC.

“We are now in January, and the structure of the ANC have duly met and taken a decision. That is not long. [Former] president Zuma I am sure between that decision and today has had more than 40 rallies in different areas. That shows his determination to leave.”

“Former president Zuma has made that case beyond reasonable doubt that there is no turning back there. If somebody says ‘I don’t want to be party to you, I want to overthrow you. I don’t believe in your leadership, I believe in my own ANC that is not yours’, this ANC that has got a constitution, that has got rules, that has got a culture has now come to the conclusion this is irreversible.”

Mbalula said these instances of former members of the ANC leaving and following other movements no longer shock its leadership anymore.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa opened the NEC Lekgotla on Monday afternoon, which the party said will map the programme of action for the year ahead.

Zuma is history

It is believed, the ANC NEC rubber-stamped its position on Zuma on Sunday, with some of the former president’s known allies in the party having laid the groundwork for his suspension with immediate effect.

A late-night meeting of the NEC on Sunday saw the ANC’s highest decision-making body agree that Zuma’s membership must be suspended and that secretary-general Fikile Mbalula must write to him informing him of the suspension.

According to NEC insiders, who spoke to News24, the initial decision was for Zuma’s branch in Nkandla to suspend his membership, but it later emerged that the branch was not in good standing.

ALSO READ: ANC to rubber-stamp position on Zuma predicament on Sunday

No expulsion  

Also, the NEC opted not to expel Zuma as an ANC member as that would require longer disciplinary processes, which it is believed he will not attend.

According to the ANC constitution’s rule 25, Zuma’s actions to not campaign or vote for the ANC are tantamount to a breach of the party’s constitution.

In December, Zuma announced that he would support the Umkhonto WeSizwe (MK) party for the 2024 general elections because the ANC has strayed from its core values.

However, this contradicts his statement in October, when he said the ANC “remains the only viable instrument to bring about a better life” in South Africa while addressing party members and the public in Nyoni Branch, Ward 10, under General Gizenga Mpanza Region in KwaZulu-Natal.

Not ANC member

Last week, ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo said Zuma was “no longer a member of the ANC”.

“We have not left him, he has left the ANC… I think it is the hatred for (Cyril) Ramaphosa, but also he has realised that the ANC has at some point got enough of serving only his interest.

“I can tell you the support we have given president Zuma, even after we were elected in 2022, is beyond any person, but there is a limit where you say I can’t go beyond this,” Mtolo said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘ANC remains only viable instrument for better life in SA’ – Zuma

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