Lindiwe Sisulu denies defending Zuma in criminal charges saga

Sisulu says the ANC has not protected Jacob Zuma in the past and that her idea is independent from the judiciary in the case.

FILE: Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) presidential candidate Lindiwe Sisulu says she was not part of a collective effort in the party to make sure President Jacob Zuma did not face charges when they first surfaced a few years ago.

The Human Settlements Minister has responded to reports that amnesty is a possibility for the President.

Sisulu says the ANC has not protected the President in the past.

“I was not part of making those charges go away. I was part of making sure that we’re informed. He had legal representatives, a team of lawyers, who were dealing with that matter long before he became a president.”

She says the party has forgiven others but her idea is independent from the judiciary with the appeals process in Zuma’s corruption case underway later this year.

“When I was asked about the issue of amnesty, I was talking from a perspective of what the ANC would be weighing up and saying as the ANC let’s forgive the most heinous crimes, I was not talking about the legal aspects of what would happen in Bloemfontein at all; that is completely out of my terrain.”

Sisulu says she was leading the national working committee (NWC) at the ANC's national conference in 2007 where President Zuma's corruption charges were scrutinised.

“I became head of that committee to understand what the charges were and to explain those charges to the NWC so it can understand what we’re facing as the ANC with the president who is facing charges. It was not a legal matter, it was a matter of understanding so that the ANC is sensitised to what its president if facing in the courts.”

She says she was not responsible for the legal process at the time.

“We were not looking for a political solution then, we were not looking at an amnesty then because we were looking at the case to inform ourselves and we did. By the time he went to the courts, we were informed about what was happening.”

The ANC presidential hopeful says she has been insisting that there should be a disciplinary process to deal with the Gupta leaks.

She says people named in the emails should explain themselves and should they be found culpable, then they must face the consequences.

On Saturday, Sisulu made her ANC presidential campaign values clear.

She said she tends to rebrand, reunify and reunite the ANC.

Sisulu, who was speaking to hundreds of ANC supporters in Kliptown, said both the country and the ruling party need a revised movement.

“Open to modern means and methods, a movement to save the republic and reunite all of us.”

She said the killings in KwaZulu-Natal, women and children abuse and corruption need to stop.

“It’s not a culture of our movement. We must stop violence against women and children. It’s alien to our culture. It must stop.”

Sisulu said it’s time to return to the South Africa envisioned in the Freedom Charter.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)