Ace vows to 'die in the ANC' at Zuma court case, while former president pleads for discipline and unity
While suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule vowed to “die in the ANC” outside the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday, former president Jacob Zuma reminded supporters that infighting would make the party a “laughing stock”.
Magashule and Zuma both addressed hundreds of supporters shortly after the former president's corruption trial was adjourned to May 26 to allow his legal team to file an application for state prosecutor Billy Downer to be recused.
Zuma’s legal team will file papers on Wednesday in support of the objection against Downer leading the trial against him. In the papers, Zuma will state reasons for calling for Downer’s recusal.
Zuma is facing charges of racketeering, two counts of corruption and 12 counts of fraud — nine of which are for allegedly making false income tax returns. He is charged along with French arms manufacturer Thales.
“I want to make a plea to you. We cannot please our enemies by fighting among each other. If we come here to support Zuma, then let us support Zuma. Nothing more. It gives a bad reputation to the organisation when we fight in public. We will become a laughing stock to outsiders,” said Zuma to his supporters.
Magashule, who was at court as a show of support to Zuma, also addressed supporters, telling them he would never leave the ANC and vowing to gather more supporters to attend Zuma's trial.
He was recently suspended after he refused to step aside from his position along with other leaders who have been formally charged for corruption and other serious crimes.
Magashule then slapped President Cyril Ramaphosa with a suspension letter.
This saw him being rebuked by the ANC’s national executive committee, which ordered that he issue a public apology or be subjected to disciplinary action.
“I can assure you, nobody under a democracy will ban me. Nobody will remove the ANC from me. Even though we are upset, but we still respect the leadership of the ANC,” said Magashule.
“I will not form any party, I will die in the ANC.
“Next time when we come here on the 26th of May, we will bring the whole of Free State. Not just ANC supporters — the whole Free State. The struggle continues.”