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Supporting Zuma doesn't mean undermining Ramaphosa - Magashule

Addressing the launch of the party’s new online membership system in Sebokeng, Magashule said the party’s NEC has decided that members can support former President Jacob Zuma.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma arrives at OR Tambo International Airport on 22 February 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/ EWN

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule said no one would be banned from the party for supporting former President Jacob Zuma.

Addressing the launch of the party’s new online membership system in Sebokeng, Magashule said the party’s NEC has decided that members can support Zuma.

"So we have taken a decision. You can support and you must support President Zuma. You can wear your ANC t-shirt, that is your right, we can’t ban you."

Previously, the party banned its members from wearing ANC regalia when supporting the former president in court.

Meanwhile, in his address, Magashule appeared to take a swipe at the National Assembly for inviting former apartheid President FW de Klerk.

"You can’t respect de Klerk and you disregard Zuma."

However, Magashule was careful to say that supporting Zuma doesn’t mean current President Cyril Ramaphosa will be undermined.

Scores of supporters welcomed the former president at OR Tambo International Airport last week on his return from receiving medical treatment in Cuba.

Zuma is facing corruption charges linked to the multi-billion rand arms deal and expected to appear in court in May.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court issued a warrant of arrest for Zuma when he failed to appear for his corruption case last month.

A PARTY IN DISARRAY

Political analyst Professor Tinyiko Maluleke said Magashule’s speak to a party in disarray.

"He is facing charges that relate to the arms deal and corruption, in a formal and legitimate court of law, in a country ruled by a government where ANC is the majority party – that’s what’s facing president Zuma. To call for support for Zuma is to appeal to that faction of the party that supports him come what may, regardless of what it is he is facing."

Maluleke said it’s the same NEC that decided that members are not allowed to wear party regalia when supporting the former president in court.

He said he’s not surprised that the ANC had changed its tune, saying it's clear the latest decision was championed by a faction.