Thousands of ANC members sang that they would “defend [President Jacob] Zuma” as they waited for him to address them at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Friday.

The words “uZuma sisomdefenda, ngoba amandla asemesebeni” reverberated through the venue.

Loosely translated, the words mean: “We will defend Zuma, because the power rests in the ANC’s branches”.

Their call follows the release of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report into the Gupta family’s alleged interference in the affairs of the executive.

The mood in the city hall was electric. People waited in a long queue to go through a security check and enter the hall.

Zuma addressed a cadres’ forum of the ANC’s Moses Mabhida region.
The event was intended to rebuild the party’s “political consciousness”.

In May this year, the party axed former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu and four of his MECs. This was despite the party vowing that it would not reshuffle the cabinet. Former transport MEC Willies Mchunu was elected premier.

This week, the party rubbished rumours that another cabinet reshuffle was looming after speculation that Mchunu would not compete his term due to ill health.

Mchunu told reporters that his health had suffered, but that he would compete his term. – News24