‘Leave him alone’ – Magashule says Zuma’s rights must be respected

Ace Magashule was speaking to journalists in Soweto on Wednesday and defended Jacob Zuma, saying the former leader was a South African who had his own rights.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma joined ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on the campaign trail in KwaZulu-Natal in 2019. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter.

SOWETO - African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule said former President Jacob Zuma must be left alone, instead accusing those calling for him to be disciplined and removed from the ANC of being populist.

Magashule was speaking to journalists in Soweto on Wednesday and defended Zuma, saying the former leader was a South African who had his own rights.

Zuma, in a hard-hitting statement this week, said he would defy both a Constitutional Court order and the state capture commission of inquiry to return to the witness box and answer to multiple allegations levelled against him.

ANALYSIS: Presidents who subvert democracies can hit a brick wall: ask Zuma

Magashule himself is facing charges of corruption in connection with the Free State asbestos project.

His position on Zuma was clear: “Leave President Zuma alone; just leave him!”

In a heated back and forth between Magashule and journalists, the ANC secretary general called for the former leader’s rights to be respected.

Magashule also did not mince his words when addressing ANC leaders, already calling for the party to act against Zuma.

On Jacob Zuma: A despot’s time to face democracy

The Eastern Cape ANC and Derek Hanekom are just some of those who’ve shared their thoughts on the matter.

“The Eastern Cape is not the national executive committee of the ANC and it’s wrong for comrades to try and become populists and talk about Zuma all the time.”

Magashule has committed to engaging the former leader on the matter himself.

WATCH: 'Zuma has no right to remain silent' - Former president ordered to appear at state capture inquiry

'NOTHING WRONG' WITH ZUMA DEFYING CONCOURT ORDER

Magashule said he didn't see anything wrong with former Zuma publicly announcing that he would defy a Constitutional Court order.

He said he saw no reason to call the former leader to order.

Magashule questioned what Zuma has done wrong: “President Zuma is a South African; he has his own rights, so you can’t want me to talk on behalf of President Jacob Zuma.”

Magashule told journalists, in a tense exchange, that there was a lot of wrongs happening in the country

Which he would one day make public.

He also chastised the media, comparing its reaction to Zuma with that of when P.W Botha who served as a prime minister during the apartheid era refused to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“You the media did not say anything. Until today, there are TRC prosecutions, which were supposed to have happened and are supposed to happen but are not happening. You are quiet about people who killed us and named us under apartheid.”

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.