JOHANNESBURG. – Former president Jacob Zuma, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule and others who are alleged to have attended secret meetings in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, plotting to remove President Cyril Ramaphosa as head of the governing party, should give answers and not the ANC, head of communications in the presidency Zizi Kodwa said yesterday.
Kodwa said the African National Congress does not hold secret meetings.
“We do not know if there was such a meeting or not, but the people who were there are best placed to respond to questions about the gathering. The ANC, as it has always done, (invites journalists) to a photo opportunity at its meetings so that it is not suspected what an ANC (national executive committee) NEC meeting is all about,” Kodwa told reporters on the sidelines of the state capture commission of inquiry in Johannesburg.
“So, we cannot speak on behalf of people who were in that meeting…what we are ceased with is unity and renewal of the organisation.”
When asked whether the ANC has inquired from Magashule about the meeting, Kodwa replied: “It is not for us (the ANC) to ask what the meeting was about, whether there is an issue or a plot by people in some meeting…we cannot as the ANC talk about a meeting we were not part of.”
He reiterated his stance that the ANC is “not on trial” at the commission. Kodwa added that the outcome of the December 2017 conference where Ramaphosa was elected, will not change, “despite the wishes of those inside or outside the ANC”.
The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that top figures in the ANC, including Magashule, were holding secret meetings plotting to remove Ramaphosa.
Zuma, Magashule, North West’s former premier Supra Mahumapelo, ANC Women’s League secretary Matuba Meokgo and ANC Youth League (ANCYL) KwaZulu-Natal leader Thanduxolo Sabelo reportedly met on Thursday at Maharani hotel in Durban.
That meeting, according to the newspaper, was preceded by another one the previous day in Umhlanga Rocks, where former SAA board chairwoman Dudu Miyeni was in attendance.
The group, which supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over from the former president, is said to be setting their eyes on challenging the outcomes of the December conference, claiming massive irregularities at branches and that most of the conference delegates were illegitimate.
A Xinhua report on Sunday says the ANC had refuted the newspaper report.
“The ANC will not dignify these blatant lies and fabrications with a detailed response,” the party said in a statement emailed to Xinhua. “However we would like to point out that we refute this shameless gossip.”
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe added, “We are disappointed that the Sunday Times, in a very irresponsible and dangerous manner, proceeded to publish this misleading story.”
He said the ANC rejects attempts to link its secretary general to this alleged plot.
“It is clear that this malicious gossip is calculated to cast aspersions on the integrity and commitment of our secretary general to the unity and renewal project of the African National Congress,” Mabe said.
The ANC calls on its members and the public at large not to be misled by this factually baseless story”, Mabe said.
“We urge the Sunday Times to immediately retract this story, which is nothing but incoherent political gossip that has the potential to undermine the unity of the movement,” he added.
The ANC, he said, supports freedom of the press but believes that such freedom should be exercised with care and responsibility.
However, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says the allegations to oust President Ramaphosa deserved “urgent attention” by the ANC’s national executive committee.
“The alleged clandestine plot‚ which regrettably includes the SG (secretary-general) Comrade Ace Magashule‚ undermines the unity and renewal efforts of the ANC‚” he tweeted on Sunday.
Mthembu said the secret plot undermined efforts to fight and reverse the impacts of state capture. – African News Agency/Xinhua/Times Live/HR