“I will not take sides”

Zuma reads the riot act
jacob_zuma_riot_actJOHANNESBURG South Africas President Jacob Zuma on Saturday read the riot act on his partys youth league president Julius Malema, saying his party and government would never take sides in the political wrangles in Zimbabwe.

He said the African National Congress (ANC) will remain impartial in resolving the political problem in Zimbabwe, adding that his facilitation team had received a progress report on the latest round of negotiations within the neighbouring country’s government of national unity, which he promised to act on. Zuma said that his country, as a respected member of the international community had responsibilities and obligations in the regional and broader international spheres, key of which was to facilitate the implementation of the Global Peace Agreement in Zimbabwe.

We undertake this task with the necessary seriousness and sensitivity, and have to ensure impartiality at all times, said Zuma, in clear reference to a recent declaration by ANC Youth League President, Julius Malema that he supported President Robert Mugabes government and wanted the octogenarian leaders party to retain power in Zimbabwe.

We will continue to facilitate the resolution of the impasse in Zimbabwe and to treat all parties with respect. We cannot and will not side with any one of the parties to the exclusion of others. We received a report from the last round of talks held last week and we will work with the parties again to take the process forward.

Zuma castigated Malema and his ANCYL colleagues for their disregard for media freedom and disrespect for the rule of law, which the ANCYL President exhibited last week when he insulted a BBC journalist and threw him out of a press conference and Malemas continued disregard of a court ruling that he should not sing Kill the Boer a revolutionary song banned by the South African courts recently.

At the meeting of the ANCs National Executive Committee last month, we spoke out strongly about the need for discipline among the members of the organisation and more generally for all to respect the rules of political engagement, said Zuma, who has been under fire for his apparent failure to discipline Malema recently. As the organisations leadership we were drawing the line, and that there would be consequences for anyone who crossed that line. Matters relating to the conduct and statements of the ANC Youth League which are totally alien to the culture of the ANC have made it necessary for us to emphasise a few fundamental principles today.

This is an appropriate moment to do so, particularly since it is the anniversary of the brutal assassination of one of the outstanding heroes of our struggle, Comrade Chris Hani. On this anniversary, we recommit ourselves to uphold the values and traditions to which he and scores of the countrys national heroes dedicated their lives. We commit ourselves to continue working tirelessly to build a non-racial, non-sexist, united and democratic South Africa, founded on the positive values that are enshrined in the Constitution.

The South African leader also emphasised the need to safeguard media freedom, adding that an independent and free media was one of the cornerstones of democracy. We must accord journalists the freedom to do their work unhindered. We should engage them professionally and with dignity, he said. The manner in which a BBC journalist was treated at an ANC Youth League press conference is regrettable and unacceptable, regardless of any alleged provocation on his part.

He said: We place a high premium on order, stability and the rule of law in the country. That is why the ruling party took the step this week of calling for restraint from all its structures and members. Anyone who then goes against that statement is undermining the leadership authority of the ANC, and that cannot be accepted. When the ANC has made such a statement, it is totally out of order for us to continue as if such a statement was not made. Certainly there must be consequences for such behaviour.

Our Constitution enshrines the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.

We must recognise the role of the judiciary as the final arbiter in disputes in society. The dignity and decorum of the institution must always be protected and defended. There are procedures that one should follow to challenge court decisions. Defiance of these procedures should not be tolerated. It would make mockery of our judicial system. It should be noted that to appeal a court decision is not to defy it.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *