ANC had to take responsibility for Nkandla gathering - Duarte

The African National Congress (ANC) has given itself a pat on the back for managing the political situation which unfolded outside former President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home while at the same time affirming all of the country’s democratic institutions.

Supporters of former President Jacob have gathered in Nkandla ahead of his address on 4 July 2021. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has given itself a pat on the back for managing the political situation which unfolded outside former President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home while at the same time affirming all of the country’s democratic institutions.

At a briefing on Tuesday, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said that the party’s national executive committee (NEC) agreed that the country’s judiciary and law enforcement agencies should always be defended from political attacks.

The NEC held a special meeting on Monday following Zuma’s latest charge at the judiciary.

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On Sunday, Zuma broke his silence on the Constitutional Court handing him a 15-month jail sentence for contempt to thousands of supporters who had gathered at his home to defend him.

Duarte said that those gathered in Nkandla were party members and the ANC had to take responsibility.

The ANC, while acknowledging different views, insisted that postponing its scheduled NEC meeting over the weekend was the right thing to do.

Duarte said that leaders would have been distracted and observations over days leading up to Sunday, when Zuma was due to hand himself over to police, led to the decision.

"Those were our members out there and we needed to take some responsibility to make sure that there was no bloodshed. When words such as 'human shields' were used, we sat up," Duarte said.

She said that the NEC characterised much of what was happening in Nkandla as failed attempts to cause unrest or shutdowns through the display and firing of weapons.

Duarte also announced several interventions from the NEC in order to further manage the situation - these included reaffirming ANC leadership in KwaZulu-Natal, reinforcing its provincial executive committee.

She and other secretaries have also been tasked with investigating the campaign.

"And initiate disciplinary action against the organisers responsible for the incitement of violence."

Duarte said that Monday's NEC meeting affirmed that as much as everyone was equal before the law, every person equally shared the responsibility to respect and observe the law.

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