The youth wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party says it is resolute in its support for former Deputy President Jacob Zuma. This comes after Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court, which said that documents seized from Zuma and his lawyer in police raids could be used in future corruption proceedings against him. The court also rejected Zuma's appeal against another lower court ruling allowing the state to obtain documents in Mauritius allegedly connected to the case.
The youth wing said the ruling has no legal or political bearing on its support for Jacob Zuma. But some political observers believe Thursday’s ruling could undermine Zuma’s chances of assuming the presidency of the ANC, which will pick a possible new leader in December.
From Johannesburg ANC youth wing spokesman Zizi Kodwa tells reporter Peter Clottey that they would only reassess their support if and when a competent court finds the former deputy president guilty.
“The court’s decision is really a ruling against the appeals, which were made both by the ANC deputy president and his associates. It has no bearing legally or politically to our support on him becoming the leader of the ANC because in terms of South Africa’s constitution, innocence of all individuals of every person is conferred. You are assumed or you are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court of law. No court of law has found the ANC deputy president guilty of any offense,” Kodwa said.
He said the youth wing believes Zuma still has legal options.
“What the ruling of today means is that there is an issue that the deputy president in his appeal has lost and therefore, South African justice has a recourse, meaning that if he is not happy, he is allowed in terms of the law to appeal to a higher court. In this case, he’s taken the matter to the constitutional court, which is a separate matter,” he noted.
Kodwa said supporters of the ANC deputy president are tired of the long, drawn out legal troubles of Zuma and are resolute in his support.
“The case against Jacob Zuma has been going on for more that seven years, and we are saying justice delayed is justice denied. For seven years we have been told. We have endured statements such as: We are ready. We’ve got prema facie. We will charge them.’ We have heard that coming from those who administer justice. As indeed they did charge him based on the statement and courts of law in this country, they have rejected on numerous occasions and actually dismissed and thrown some of these cases out of court because of lack of evidence.” Kodwa said.
He said the overwhelming support the ANC deputy president is enjoying stems from what his supporters perceive as injustice being perpetrated against their leader.
“A majority of people in South Africa will rally behind the ANC deputy president. They are fighting injustice. They know that the injustices meted against one of us, which is the leader of the ANC, is justice. They fought against apartheid. They cannot afford in a democratic dispensation currently to see one of us going through what the ANC deputy president is going through,” he pointed out.