Ramaphosa distances ANC from Zuma attacks on judiciary, warns RET forces

Following its national executive committee meeting, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa sought to disassociate the governing party with those seeking to undermine the legitimacy of the courts.

FILE: ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at the party's 108th birthday celebration in Kimberley on 11 January 2020. Picture: ANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday night distanced itself from former leader Jacob Zuma’s searing attacks on the judiciary.

Following its national executive committee meeting, current president Cyril Ramaphosa sought to disassociate the governing party with those seeking to undermine the legitimacy of the courts.

Zuma and his allies, even in the ANC, have been vocal in their disapproval of the courts, with the former president even defying a Constitutional Court order to return to the state capture inquiry and appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

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The ANC’s top officials also met with the former president this month in a bid to understand his position.

With Zuma virtually in the room, ANC NEC members discussed the attacks on the judiciary by the former president and other political leaders.

Just hours before the NEC sat down, Zuma released yet another statement containing a scathing take on the Constitutional Court, warning that the country’s democracy could be reduced to ashes in retaliation.

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President Ramaphosa said that while no arm of the state was above criticism, the ANC could not be associated with attacks on court decisions.

"... that seek to undermine their legitimacy and the decisions that it takes. Our Constitution provides sufficient safeguards against the abuse of power."

Ramaphosa, who will soon appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, used this opportunity to once again endorse it.

"The NEC views its submission as necessary to the work of the commission and important for the broader work to confront state capture and ensure that such activities are never allowed to happen in our country again."

He stated that anyone with evidence of judicial abuse should make use of available remedies.

RET FORCES WARNED

Ramaphosa also confirmed the existence of the so-called Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces within the walls of the ANC but he warned that their days of undermining the party and its leadership were over.

The ANC president took a hard line during his overnight closing address following the national executive committee meeting.

He said that no party member should associate themselves or be involved with this RET grouping.

The group, modeled around one of the ANC’s policy positions, has been described by some in the party as “a parasite” and a risk that could one day contest the party for power.

It's understood that one of its prominent faces, who has denied being a part of it, Carl Niehaus, featured prominently during the weekend’s national executive committee meeting’s discussions.

The ANC’s NEC seems to have finally taken a tough stance on the so-called RET forces, with Ramaphosa adopting a "take no prisoners" approach.

The grouping is accused of attempting to subvert the ANC and of creating diversions.

Ramaphosa said that this faction, often seen and heard singing the praises of both Zuma and secretary-general Ace Magashule, would not be tolerated.

"The meeting agreed that no ANC member should associate themselves are be involved in the so-called RET forces."

Without making specific mention of Niehaus, who also works in Magashule’s office, Ramaphosa called for an end to party resources being used to serve this particular faction.

"The NEC will not allow any member of the ANC staff to use the resources and premises of the ANC to hold meetings of the RET or any other faction."

He raised concerns over the re-emergence of the fake news phenomenon, as well as the MKMVA being used to promote factional battles and causing disunity in the ANC.

He said that the association must work with the MK council towards a united conference.

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