Zuma’s homestead a hive of activity as Zondo standoff drags on

Zuma’s homestead a hive of activity as Zondo standoff drags on

The small rural town of Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal, is a hive of activity.

Members of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) have descended on the area in support of former president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma faces arrest after defying a Constitutional Court ruling, ordering that he appears before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that’s probing allegations of state capture.

This week was set aside for the former president to answer to allegations levelled against him by more than 30 witnesses at the commission.

However, Zuma refuses to appear before commission chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Zuma believes Zondo is bias and says the commission therefore does not have the attributes to conduct a fair, independent and impartial investigation or hearing that involves him or that contradicts the Commission’s script on state capture.

One of his other gripes is that the Commission took him to the Constitutional Court while he was still pursuing a review application over Justice Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself from the state capture inquiry when he testifies.

On Monday, he pulled a no-show at the commission – forcing it to continue without him.

Justice Zondo slammed the former president’s move as unnecessary, saying there was no valid reason for it.

While wrapping up proceedings, Justice Zondo said the Commission will file papers in the Apex court, asking that Zuma be jailed for contempt of court.

A sentence, the former president says, he awaits with bated breath.

“Now that it seems my role in the Commission has come to an end, I wait to face the sentence to be issued by the Constitutional Court. Accordingly, I stand by my statement I made of 01 February 2021 and no amount of intimidation or blackmail will change my position as I firmly believe that we should never allow for the establishment of a judiciary in which justice, fairness and due process are discretionary and are exclusively reserved for certain litigants and not others,” he says in a statement.

Zuma’s supporters are camping outside his homestead in Nkandla and have vowed to defend him.

They believe the former president is being unfairly targeted and is innocent of corruption claims that have been levelled against him.

Traders are also taking advantage of the moment.

They have set up shop, selling ANC gear, among others.

One Wits University School of Governance lecturer has called on the Constitutional Court to act against Zuma’s defiance.

Professor Ivor Sarakinsky says Zuma is playing a political game and can’t be allowed to continue disregarding the law.

ANC in a fix

While the ANC’s highest-decision making body, the NEC, over the weekend reiterated its call for members to cooperate with the Zondo Commission, the Zuma-Zondo saga has put the governing party in an awkward position.

It has once again exposed divisions within the governing party, which some political commentators believe is the reason for its inability to be decisive on the matter.

Earlier in February, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule defended Zuma’s refusal to comply with the Constitutional Court ruling, saying he saw nothing wrong with it.

The party’s stalwarts and veterans on the other hand expressed concern over Zuma’s position on the Zondo Commission and called on the former president to follow the example of the country’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela, who appeared in the high court in Pretoria in 2011, when he was required to do so.

Lungisa receives a warm welcome after a stint in prison

Lungisa receives a warm welcome after a stint in prison

ANC Eastern Cape top gun Andile Lungisa returned home to a hero’s welcome on Tuesday. Lungisa was released from jail on parole after serving two months of his two-year jail term for hitting DA councillor, Rano Kayser, with a jug full of water in 2016 during a heated council meeting.

Correctional Services Spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, says his release is part of the President’s Special Remission of Sentences aimed at reducing overcrowding in prisons.

 It reduced Lungisa’s sentence by a year, making him one of the over 14 000 inmates who have benefitted from the Special Remission of Sentence.

“Classified as a first time offender with a positive support system, and having responded positively to rehabilitation programmes, parole placement for Lungisa is in line with Section 73(7)(a) of the Correctional Services Act. The Act determines the minimum period of sentence that must be served before consideration for possible parole placement. This must be read together with Section 276(1)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act as it stipulates a mandatory one sixth of the sentence to be served before any consideration for parole,” Nxumalo says.

The Andile Lungisa Campaign organised the welcoming bash for the former ANC Youth League leader.

His supporters gathered at the Vuyisile Mini Square in Port Elizabeth.

“He is the hero amongst heroes and his history of activism speaks for itself. He was sent to jail for defending the gains made by fighting for democracy,” the Release Lungisa Campaign has said.

Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo was one of the former ANC leaders who welcomed Lungisa back into society.

Mahumapelo accused some people of working hard to destroy Lungisa’s political career.

On his part, Lungisa said he went to prison because he fought the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The DA governed the Nelson Mandela Bay metro until Athol Trollip was ousted during a council vote in 2018.

Lungisa says he doesn’t lose sleep thinking about his victim, Kayser.

@Nazo_Buso

Lungisa called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to stop attacking his predecessor, Jacob Zuma. Lungisa believes the ANC’s fight against corruption is selective. He says while some governing party leaders are targeted in the crusade, some are persecuted within the party due to dissenting views. He also blamed the COVID-19 crisis in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to lack of leadership.

The former deputy president of the ANC Youth League also blasted the country’s leadership for failure to pluck poor South Africans out of poverty. He says he will be visiting villages in preparation for, what he termed, the biggest conference the country has seen. 

He says that’s where they will table an economic programme for South Africa before the ANC’s National General Council. The governing party was due to be held in the second half of the year but was postponed due to COVID-19. It has now been scheduled for May 2021.

The NGC discusses and debates strategic organisational and political issues facing the movement. While it charts the way forward – it cannot change policies or resolutions adopted by the party’s five-yearly national conference. 

The ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee says it will release a statement on the Lungisa matter in due course.

South Africans have meanwhile reacted with mixed views to the former ANC Youth League deputy president’s release from prison, with some questioning the country’s justice system.