The battles within the African National Congress (ANC) are getting heated by the minute and now a key member of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Jackson Mthembu, has entered the fray, coming to Cyril Ramaphosa’s defence, insisting that the president is here to stay.
This comes after fellow party leader and Ekurhuleni Mayor, Mzwandile Masina, called for Ramaphosa to step down while legal battles regarding the president’s CR17 campaign funding are ongoing.
Masina, whom, depending on who you ask, is far from a choirboy himself, staged a picket outside the St Georges Hotel in Irene, Pretoria on Saturday, 29 August 2020. He has demanded that all party members who find themselves implicated in corruption, step aside pending investigations into the allegations.
Mthembu: No basis for Ramaphosa to step down
In response, Mthembu, who is considered one of Ramaphosa’s fiercest defenders as Minister in the Presidency, has lashed out at Masina’s call, saying there is no need for him to step aside.
“I have never heard such balderdash from a leader of the (ANC)”, he tweeted on Monday, 31 August 2020.
In what one could only assume was an indirect jab at Ramaphosa, Masina also told journalists that nobody was above the party and that it was not about specific individuals, but those who have matters pending in court.
“The ANC’s 54th national conference was very clear should you be accused of corruption. Resolve number two states clearly that once you are accused of corruption, you should approach the integrity commission to explain your side of the story. But if you are charged through the court of law, you should step aside”, he said.
CR17: Calls for accountability dominate NEC meeting
The party’s NEC met over the weekend, where reports claim Ramaphosa came under fire from his detractors, particularly after he penned a letter on corruption, calling on members to take responsibility and accountability.
It also comes after former president Jacob Zuma wrote a similar letter, in which he hit back at his successor, accusing him of resorting to public relations exercises to save his own skin.
“Mr President your letter is fundamentally flawed in several respects and plays right into the hands of those who seek to destroy the ANC and build from its ashes a counter-revolutionary party under the guise of fighting corruption”, Zuma is quoted as saying.
Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign funding has been an albatross on his neck, given the legal scrutiny it has been subjected to, particularly with the matter set to be heard before the Constitutional Court.
Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane found in her report that the president deliberately misled Parliament when replied to a question by then Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane about R500,000 his campaign had received.
Ramaphosa subsequently challenged the report and the North Gauteng High Court subsequently ruled in favour, setting it aside.
The court found that Mkhwebane had no jurisdiction to look into the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and DA’s complaints over the president’s campaign funding, which is believed to have amassed as much as R1 billion in donations.
Now the EFF, Mkhwebane and the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism have approached the apex court, in a bid to gain access into the campaign’s financial records.