JOHANNESBURG – The appearance of former President Jacob Zuma at the state capture commission looked set to derail the African National Congress’ (ANC) unity efforts.
ANC leaders have been quick to take sides as Zuma told the commission about spies within the party dating as far back as the 1990s, while they were still in the struggle.
WATCH: Death threats, denials & unfair treatment: Day 2 of Zuma testimony
Spy allegations were not new to the ANC, with some leaders having been accused of the same in the past in attempts to discredit them, much to the detriment of the party.
Zuma’s bold remarks of an orchestrated campaign to “get him erased from the scene” by, among others, senior ANC leaders he purported to have been in cahoots with and foreign and local intelligence services, have shaken the ANC.
Secretary-general Ace Magashule, a long-time Zuma ally, appeared to choose the former president’s side on the sensitive issue which has raised questions about camaraderie in the party.
“I know some of the things that president Zuma might actually say.”
Meanwhile, the uMkhonto We Sizwe National Council, a detachment from the MKMVA, has stepped in to reassure senior ANC members after Zuma accused them of having links to apartheid intelligence services.
Zuma alleged that former ministers Ngoako Ramatlhodi and general Siphiwe Nyanda were co-opted by the apartheid police.
Both men have dismissed the claims. MK council’s national secretary-general Gregory Nthatisi said: “Any comrade we know and have worked with, we’ll always stand by and defend.”
The former president’s supporters were beside him even on Tuesday as he continued his testimony.
MAGASHULE ON INQUIRY TERMS OF REFERENCE
Magashule refused to say whether or not he believed the Zondo commission was targeting Zuma.
The ANC released a statement on Monday calling on South Africans assist the state capture commission with its work.
This while Zuma was addressing the inquiry, saying the commission was the result of a three-decade-long plan to assassinate his character.
So, does Magashule agree with Zuma that the inquiry was established to target him?
“I don’t want to talk about the biasness of the commission,” he said.
What he made clear though was that he agreed with Zuma’s supporters that the terms of reference for the commission were not wide enough.
“I don’t know why South Africa is not actually investigating every company which actually has done work with government. And you’re targeting one particular family company,” Magashule said.
Magashule said Zuma’s claims that some senior party leaders were spies didn’t surprise him because he had been around and knew of the things the former president was saying.
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