African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Ace Magashule has taken a swipe at the self-styled Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Support Group for President Jacob Zuma.
Addressing ANC supporters at the launch the party’s new membership system in Sebokeng, Gauteng on Friday, Magashule said there are only three autonomous ANC structures recognised by its constitution.
These are the ANC Women’s League, Youth League and Veterans League, he said, adding that “structures” such as the RET group and the 101 ANC veterans aren’t recognised by the ANC constitution.
‘RET is not for certain people only’
Magashule said, “Radical economic transformation is the policy position of the ANC. So, all of us, we’re RET forces.
“Every member of the ANC is RET because we adopted RET at Nasrec [ANC’s 54th conference]. It’s not for certain people only.”
The RET Support Group for President Zuma emerged earlier this month soon after the Pietermaritzburg high court issued a suspended warrant of arrest for Zuma.
Its spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, works in Magashule’s office. At a press conference recently, he said the warrant was a sign that the judiciary had “entered the political arena.”
ANC members ‘free to support Zuma’
The group welcomed Zuma at OR Tambo International Airport last weekend when he returned from Cuba, where he had been for treatment.
It also said it would mobilise ANC members to march to ANC headquarters in Johannesburg and the National Prosecuting Authority’s headquarters to protest against the “political persecution” of Zuma.
During his speech at the launch on Thursday, Magashule said ANC members are free to show support for the former President during his court appearances.
He said, “The [ANC] National Executive Committee has taken a decision that you can support and you must support President Zuma. You can wear a t-shirt of the ANC. You’re doing so in your own right.”
Magashule said society must respect Zuma as a former President of South Africa and not disregard him.
“You can’t respect [FW] de Klerk and you disregard Zuma. How do you respect de Klerk and disrespect Zuma as President? A man who has sacrificed his life for you and I to be free?”
The ANC Secretary General also said the new membership system will end gatekeeping in the party. He was accompanied by ANC’s head of organising, former minister Nomvula Mokonyane.