Zuma slams Ramaphosa’s ‘flawed’ letter and ‘Accused No. 1’ comment

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Former President Jacob Zuma has responded to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent letter to African National Congress (ANC) members, slamming it as “fundamentally flawed” and a “public relations exercise.”

In a hard-hitting letter addressed to Ramaphosa dated 28 August, 2020, Zuma particularly took issue with Ramaphosa’s comment that the ANC is “Accused No. 1” when it comes to corruption.

‘You implicate innocent ANC members’

He wrote, “Mr President, by stating that the ANC stands as “…Accused No. 1” in respect of the charge of corruption, you implicate thousands of innocent members of the ANC who continue to face hunger and dehumanising poverty and have never benefitted from corruption.

“You proceed to say the ANC should bury its head in shame. Mr President, this statement that you make is not helpful to the ANC, in my respectful view. For all intents and purposes, it can only serve to destroy the ANC, particularly if the head of the ANC pleads guilty on behalf of the ANC, and calls the ANC the accused Number 1.

“Your actions are unprecedented in this regard. Mr President you are indeed the first President of the ANC to stand in public and accuse the ANC of criminality and that the ANC must be the accused Number 1 as accusations of corruption mount.”

NEC meeting

Zuma’s letter came just hours before a special ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, which is expected to discuss how to respond to recent reports of alleged corruption in the procurement of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE).

In his letter, Ramaphosa said these reports have sparked “anger and disillusionment” in society, adding that this anger is “understandable and justified.”

“Today, the ANC and its leaders stand accused of corruption. The ANC may not stand alone in the dock, but it does stand as Accused No. 1. This is the stark reality that we must now confront,” he wrote, urging those charged with corruption to step aside from their roles in government.

However, Zuma said Ramaphosa’s letter was “a public relations exercise by which you accuse the entire ANC in order to save your own skin.” This accusation, he charged, is a “betrayal” of the ANC’s founders and previous leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo.

‘Show you haven’t done business with the state’

Zuma also challenged Ramaphosa to tell ANC members whether or not his companies did business with the state when he was Deputy President of the ANC and the country. This is an apparent reference to ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s controversial comment recently when he suggested that there is no ANC leader who has not done business with the government.

The former President also raised the issue of Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign in 2017. He wrote, “Mr President, you currently stand accused of having received almost R1 billion in donations from White Monopoly Capital just to win an internal ANC contest.

“The ANC has repeatedly decried this phenomenon as something foreign to its culture, policies and Constitution. We all know that such donations amounted to sacrificing the historic mission of the ANC for 30 pieces of silver.”

Zuma added that “with some unsurprising help from the Judgment of the North Gauteng High Court,” Ramaphosa has sealed the CR17 campaign donations records. He further accused the President of failing to implement some resolutions of the ANC’s 54th National Conference, such as nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and radical economic transformation (RET).

To read Zuma’s letter to Ramaphosa in full, click here.

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