The African National Congress (ANC) has expressed concern at “continued attempts to seek to factionalise radical economic transformation into groupings, and particularly recent remarks attributed to comrade Carl Niehaus.”
Niehaus has emerged as the spokesperson of a Gauteng-based group calling itself the Radical Economic Transformation Support Group for President Jacob Zuma.
The group held a press conference on Wednesday and announced plans for protest marches to ANC headquarters and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to express unhappiness at what it called “political persecution” of Zuma.
‘Don’t use Zuma’s name’
Niehaus said, “We furthermore believe that there is a direct link between the persecution of President Zuma and the awful reluctance, and dragging of feet, to fully – and with speed – implement the pro-radical economic transformation (RET) resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the ANC.”
However, the ANC hit back on Thursday through a statement issued by national spokesperson Pule Mabe.
Mabe said, “It is regrettable that [the] real challenges faced by our people are being used in ways that undermine the unity and image of the ANC and its capacity to unite the broadest range of South Africans to tackle the triple challenges [of unemployment, inequality and poverty].
“The ANC also calls on its members to desist from using the name of former President Jacob Zuma, and most recently his health concerns, to stir divisions.”
‘ANC members free to support Zuma’
Mabe added that the ANC has not discouraged anyone from supporting Zuma during his court appearances “as long as this does not interfere with the work of the judiciary and his right to a fair process.”
Niehaus, who is also the spokesperson of uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), is known for his unflinching support for Zuma and ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule.
He also works in Magashule’s office, something Transport Minister and ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Fikile Mbalula has repeatedly questioned on social media.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Niehaus hit out at Mabe for issuing a statement “with the deeply hurtful words, ‘If it is true that former President Zuma is ill.'”
Mabe’s statement signals the ANC’s growing concerns at the activities of pro-Zuma ANC members in recent weeks.
Over the weekend, ANC chairperson in the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, also warned “reckless” members hoping to remove President Cyril Ramaphosa from office that “they are being watched.”