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ANC Youth Threaten Mass Protests

In South Africa, the Youth League of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) says any move to press new graft charges against former Deputy President Jacob Zuma could trigger mass protests. Zuma’s former aide Schabir Shaik was convicted of graft and fraud last year. But ANC Youth says Zuma is a victim of a political conspiracy.

Fikile Mbalula is leader of the ANC’s Youth League. He spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the move to press fresh graft charges against former Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

“We have been waiting for a decade now for Zuma to be charged…. Our emphasis at the Youth Leagues has been that, if anyone has got any case against anybody in our country, that individual must be respected in terms of the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the land,” he said.

Mbalula says although they believe there is a political conspiracy against Zuma, the youth wing has not taken the lead in making that assertion.

“We have always emphasized that to an extent that this is a political conspiracy, as an organization we have not arrived at that particular conclusion. But we have always raised concerns about issues of fairness and justice. We have been loud and clear with regards to the fact that the justice system in our country needs to be on the side of fairness,” Mbalula noted.

Mbalula says the youth wing will support any organization that demands justice in the country including The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

“We are aware of the injustices in the country, and if people protest and demand justice, we will be on their side. And in this particular instance it has happened over time that people have demonstrated their unwavering support to Zuma simply because of the fact that we believe he has actually been treated unfairly,” he said.

Mbalula says court officials, including judges in the country, must be principled.

“We are very much consistent in saying that the judges (and how they basically conduct themselves) must actually be above reproach. And they must be above manipulation and treat people with fairness,” he said

Meanwhile the African National Congress is still struggling to heal the deep rift in the ruling party created by Zuma's sacking.

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