Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has slammed the meeting held on Monday between members of the African National Congress’ (ANC’s) Top Six  and former President Jacob Zuma on Monday, saying that the ruling party has once again allowed him to flout the rule of law. 

Zuma missed his deadline to submit affidavits required by the State Capture Commission on Monday while he met virtually with top ANC members, who Steenhuisen said have failed to compel the former leader to do the right thing and appear before the Commission and answer questions relating to alleged corruption that took place during his 10 year tenure as President. 

Magashule: ‘Zuma does not intend on undermining Constitution’  

Steenhuisen said on Tuesday 9 March that it has “become obvious that the factional battles in the ANC continue to cost South Africa dearly”, and bemoaned the ANC’s willingness to allow Zuma to defy Constitutional Court orders demanding that he appear before the Commission.

“The meeting, which was meant to convince Mr Zuma to appear before the Zondo Commission, was an utter failure which confirms that the RET faction of the ANC has the upper hand and will allow him to disregard the constitution and the rule of law,” he said. The ANC said on Monday that the talks were “very positive and constructive”. 

ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule briefed media on the outcomes of the meeting later in the evening and said they had agreed to give Jacob Zuma some space.

“Comrade Zuma made a very extensive presentation on what has prompted his decision not to appear before what you term the Zondo commission, and he also talked about his rights as enshrined in the constitution of SA and the rights of all South Africans. And we all agreed that there has been no intention to undermine the constitution of SA. Comrade Zuma told the top six that he believes he has been subjected to unfair persecution and prosecution over two decades,” he said.

Steenhuisen said that it has become highly evident that Zuma “has every intention to disregard the Constitutional Court and the Zondo Commission, and that his party, the ANC, is all too happy to facilitate his indifference for the Constitution and the rule of law”.

Steenhuisen bemoans lack of consequences  

The DA leader went on to say that it is clear that the ANC will continue to protect Zuma from facing the music, with his many alleged transgressions seemingly being swept under the rug as he continues to duck and dive prosecutorial processes. 

“The ANC is treating its former President with kid gloves,” said Steenhuisen. “They have demonstrated that there will be no real consequences for the disregard of the law from an organisational point of view. The governing party has a duty and an obligation to draw the line and distance itself from someone who defies the very constitution that he took an oath to uphold. But they continue to choose party factional battles over the country.”

DA call for ANC ‘reformers’ to stand up and act  

Last month, Steenhuisen said that the DA would be willing to enter into a coalition with certain ANC members who are committed to reform should there be a stalemate in the 2024 National Elections, and on Tuesday said that these reformers must now seize an opportunity to “defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and the people of South Africa”.

“Unless those with the interests of the country at heart, speak out and assert themselves, South Africa will hurtle back towards the Zuma-era where the selfish interests of the ANC’s factional cliques will continue to ravage our country,” he said. 

“Now is the time for the reformers to be bold and brave. Should they fail to do so, they will be continue to be complicit in the hallowing out of our constitutional institutions as has been done by the very ANC over the past decade.”

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Presh JM Reporter

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