South Africa News

Jacob Zuma is a criminal and ANC must cut ties with him, says Ronnie Kasrils

Anti-apartheid activist Ronnie Kasrils said the African National Congress (ANC) must accept that former President Jacob Zuma was a criminal and must cut sentimental ties to him.

In a conversation with the publication on Thursday, the former ANC’s head of intelligence said if the party was to survive, it must commit itself to leading the country.

The ANC has been confronting the reality that some of its own members are said to be behind the unrest that has led to widespread looting in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the wake of Zuma’s arrest.

He is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt against the Constitutional Court.

Kasrils is a liberation hero by all accounts but said this was simply not enough to earn one respect: “I can’t say I’m Ronnie Kasrils, from 1960 I joined the MK and I did this and I did that.”

He cautioned the ANC against hero worship, living in the past and continued ties to those who once fought for democracy but have now become anti-revolutionary.

He said the former president was a criminal who only had himself to blame.

“We need to, first of all, accept that the man is a criminal; he’s in custody, where he belongs, He’s responsible for that and he’s got other charges to face,” Kasrils said.

He said if the ANC was to survive and focus its attention on its duty to the republic, Zuma’s allies must also face the chop.

“Those characters around him… their shelf life is up,” he said.


Kasrils said government must use its full power immediately to stabilize the country.

He told the publication he never thought democratic South Africa would require a state of emergency or the military on its streets until now.

Kasrils has described the current crisis as havoc, laying some blame on Zuma and his allies as well as the country’s continued socio-economic woes.

Drawing lessons from the past, the former minister said to quell the violence required the full might of the state and communities coming out like they did in the 1990s against the apartheid regime.

“…Linking in with the security forces to bring about normality and to protect these sources of food and supplies.”

He said the violence was a consequence of ANC infighting and deepening inequality and poverty.

He hopes allegations that former operatives and ANC links being made can be successfully pursued.

The government has announced that at least one suspect has been arrested for instigating the riots.


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