Former president Jacob Zuma is said to have told visitors to Nkandla of his deepseated anger over the way the ANC removed him as head of state. This is said to be influencing his defiance of the Constitutional Court’s order for him to appear before the state capture commission.
Zuma is scheduled to meet the ANC top six this week after holding a three-hour meeting with police minister Bheki Cele on Thursday.
Those who have visited Zuma said ANC bigwigs have a mountain to climb in their attempt to convince a stubborn Zuma to obey the ConCourt ruling.
Cele told the media this week that during his meeting with Zuma he listened to his concerns and attempted to make him understand the serious implications of his stance.
“We spoke about several things, including things that are prevailing,” Cele told the media on Friday.
Zuma’s brother, Khanya Zuma, advised ANC leaders not to go to the meeting with the intention of telling Zuma what to do.
“He has serious grievances. Anyone who fails to understand them may not be able to engage him meaningfully to resolve this matter. I hope those who are coming understand that they are not coming to tell him what to do, but to hear him out and then share their perspective including a way forward.”
A leader who met Zuma recently, and who asked not to be named, said the former president questioned his delegation about why he was removed as head of state when he had, he believed, done no wrong. The leader said Zuma was still angry and bitter about the decision.
The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, who has met with Zuma, said the former president raised concerns about the legal processes that were followed in the Zondo commission matter.
“The fact that he took the matter on review, and while it is still on review, [deputy chief justice and state capture commission chair Raymond] Zondo and the commission took it to the Constitutional Court, is a big problem. Secondly, the Constitutional Court — not recognising that there is a review process in one of their courts — forges ahead with decision making on the matter.”
Ntuli said Zuma was also irked by Zondo’s suggestion that the ConCourt should consider sending Zuma to jail for his no-show at the commission on Monday.
“Saying the commission will go to the Constitutional Court to impose a term of imprisonment if it finds that he is guilty of contempt of court when the options are a fine or imprisonment — and that being said by the second most senior judge in the land — saying that he must be imprisoned, JZ is unhappy about such, and when you speak to him you realize that his concerns are legitimate,” Ntuli said.
He said the ANC is hopeful that this week’s engagement with Zuma will yield a way forward.
Asked why the ANC is only engaging with Zuma after he failed to arrive at the commission, when he had publicly said he would not, Ntuli said: “We [in KwaZulu-Natal] did not rush to engage comrade JZ because it is a matter of a commission and we thought national would deal with it. We were also surprised later that there was no communication between him and national. That is when we stood up and took the matter to the [ANC’s national executive committee].”
The secretary-general of IFP breakaway the National Freedom Party, Canaan Mdletshe, who also met Zuma this week, said Zuma “has valid reasons that explain why he is behaving the way that he is behaving”.