Organisers of Nkandla event to be brought to book, ANC likens MKMVA to 'extreme right wing elements'
Organisers of the superspreader event outside former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home will be brought to book, the ANC said on Tuesday.
Scores of ANC supporters descended on Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday in anticipation that Zuma would have to start his 15 months' detention for being found in contempt of a Constitutional Court order.
The hundreds of supporters vowed to form a human shield to protect Zuma from being arrested.
According to ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, the party's special national executive committee (NEC) meeting agreed that the event contravened Covid-19 regulations.
The NEC instructed the secretary-general’s office and provincial secretary to urgently investigate and initiate disciplinary action against the organisers responsible for the incitement of violence and defiance of Covid-19 regulations; and to act against individuals responsible for burning of ANC regalia and other acts of ill-discipline, which violates the ANC’s constitution and code of conduct.
Of concern too, Duarte said, was the presence of members of the now disbanded Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), who threatened violence by vowing to form a human shield to protect Zuma.
Duarte said their “counter-revolutionary” actions were “akin to similar displays and acts by extreme right-wing elements”.
This was “shameful” as it could have led to loss of life or serious injuries had the police decided to pounce.
“When words such as 'human shields' were used, we sat up and we took note. Those are words that are used by terrorists, internationally. Human shields — it’s a worrisome thing when words like that are used,” Duarte said.
“We sat up and took note, and we wanted to make sure that we talk to ANC members so that we prevent bloodshed. Because [those] who would have died there — if there was an exchange between the police and those people in the crowd with firearms — would have been women and children, actually.”
There is no structure in the ANC that is disbanded because it is against any individual or in favour of any individual.Deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte
She said these were some of the reasons behind the postponement of the NEC meeting which was initially scheduled for this past weekend.
This as other members of the NEC have said that it was mistake to postpone the meeting as it gave the public an impression that the ANC leaders were scared of Zuma and his supporters.
“So we had to take some responsibility and that is why the NEC meeting had to be postponed. Yes, there are NEC members who publicly spoke to you. I think somebody spoke to one of the newspapers this morning and expressed their concern about the NEC having been postponed. We accept that, but the fact of the matter is we had to take responsibility,” Duarte said.
Comments by suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule over the weekend in Nkandla have again caught the attention of the party’s leadership.
Duarte confirmed that Magashule will be asked to explain remarks in Nkandla, where he basically told ANC members to defy party instructions should they demand that their branches be disbanded.
“With regards to the comments made by the secretary-general of the ANC [Magashule], what we’re doing this morning is trying to understand. We will be asking him to explain himself, basically,” she said.
“There were two versions. One version was a newspaper version which was clearly incorrect. The second version is what we ourselves heard [which] is the secretary-general calling on those structures who are going to be disbanded for any reason to disobey — I’m not using the exact words that he used — but to disobey the leadership.
“Let me just say about that there is no structure in the ANC that is disbanded because it is against any individual or in favour of any individual. Structures in the ANC at the moment are undergoing a process of renewing their mandate. So branches whose mandate have expired are in the process of holding branch meetings to elect new leadership.
“Similarly, there are regions whose mandate has expired who are in the process of doing the same. They make that decision on their own, so how would a branch general meeting take place to elect a new leadership? The secretary of the branch would convene a meeting. We have no say in it, we have no way of giving it any kind of influence or direction.”
Duarte said the NEC reaffirmed its support of the constitution and the rule of law. The NEC also reaffirmed the support of the state capture commission and reiterated that ANC members called to appear must co-operate.