There are calls for former ANC President Jacob Zuma to “come back” and lead the party again, according to Mzwanele Manyi, spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
Manyi made the revelation during an interview with TV news channel Newzroom Afrika over the weekend.
Call for Zuma to lead ANC again
According to Manyi, the court challenge against Zuma’s medical parole is a political ploy to prevent Zuma from conducting his campaign for an ANC leadership position in the party’s 2022 national conference.
“This is about the fact that 2022 is an election year within the ANC and there have been calls that [former] President Zuma must rise and unite the ANC,” Manyi claimed.
“There have been calls that [former] President Zuma maybe must come back and lead the ANC. So, this is an attempt to intimidate [former] President Zuma so that he’s not able to address his followers, he’s not able to address members of the ANC [and] he’s not able to drive his campaign.
“So, this is all something that has been made up to make sure that he’s intimidated, he’s locked away and doesn’t get people to unite the ANC. That’s the thing.”
Zuma’s medical parole ruling
Last week, the Pretoria high court ruled that former Correctional Services National Commissioner Arthur Fraser’s decision to grant Zuma medical parole was unlawful and set it aside.
The court further ruled that Zuma must be returned to prison to serve the remainder of his 15-month imprisonment. The Constitutional Court imposed the sentence earlier this year after finding the ex-President guilty of contempt of court.
The Democratic Alliance (DA), Helen Suzman Foundation and AfriForum challenged Fraser’s decision soon after it was announced in September. Both Zuma and the Correctional Services department have indicated that they will appeal the ruling.
Manyi’s claims are likely to stir debate in the ANC. Zuma served as the party’s President between 2007 and 2017. However, his term was marred by allegations of patronage and corruption.
Prominent among those were Zuma’s Nkandla residence security upgrades scandal and his self-confessed friendship with the Gupta family, which sparked allegations of state capture.
The former President’s refusal to cooperate with the state capture commission of inquiry is what ultimately led to his imprisonment in July this year and the ongoing medical parole court battle.