New civil society coalition calls on Zuma to step down

2016-10-07 18:30
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Johannesburg – Several organisations and individuals who have previously expressed their dissatisfaction with President Jacob Zuma have joined forces in their call for him to step down.

Sipho Pityana, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation CEO Shan Bolton, and one of the Occupy Luthuli House organisers, Gugu Ndima, are just some of the members of the Save South Africa steering committee, which says it was born out of a deep concern over Zuma’s leadership.

"Provide the leadership that is required to chart a way to stability, economic growth and the realisation of the rights and promises contained in the Constitution for all our people," the committee wrote in a letter to Zuma. They have asked to meet with him to discuss his capacity to lead the country.

Pityana has been vocal in his disapproval of the president, giving a heartfelt plea at former sports and recreation minister Makhenkhesi Stofile’s funeral for Zuma to resign.

Yesterday the Presidency released a statement expressing concern over what it termed relentless public attacks on the president by leaders in the gold mining sector, laying blame specifically with Sibanye Gold and AngloGold Ashanti.

"While the Presidency respects the rights of citizens and leaders to freedom of speech, the business sector has many avenues to raise whatever concerns and issues it has with government and/or its leadership,” read the statement.

It said the president valued open dialogue and interaction with different sectors of society, but that it should happen within the bounds of human decency and decorum.

Meanwhile, the ANC Women’s League has also released a statement on the persistent calls for Zuma to go. It’s called on the ministry of mineral resources to convene a meeting with shareholders at both Sibanye Gold and AngloGold Ashanti to address their leaders’ public comments.

"Should the views raised by Chairperson of AngloGold Ashanti and CEO Sibanye Gold be their personal views, the shareholders of these companies must distance themselves from this opportunistic, demagoguery, populist and grandstanding and call these gatekeepers of capitalism, which is thriving through the blood and sweat of the poor and working class, to order," said the league in a statement.

It also wants the process of electing a president to be explained to shareholders.

Deep concern

The Save South Africa group in a statement described its own letter as one that expressed "deep concern about the state of our nation" and asked Zuma to reconsider his position as head of state.

"In particular, [we ask] whether you can still be trusted and relied upon to 'be faithful to the Republic of South Africa, and… obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic', as well as the other solemn commitments made when you took the oath of office."

It also puts forward the organisation’s thoughts around a solution to the dilemma it feels is posed by Zuma’s continued stay as South Africa’s number one citizen.

“We suggest, Mr President, that you have put your personal interests ahead of the national interest, jeopardising the independence of key institutions and you have consequently lost the confidence of the people of South Africa," it reads.

The letter said, should the president not heed the call to resign, that they would take their concerns further.

"We wish to notify you that should you elect not to resign, we intend to approach the Speaker of the National Assembly, requesting her to engage with all the members of Parliament to similarly consider the judgment properly and then take the appropriate measures to remove you as President in terms of section 89(1)(a) of the Constitution."

Read: Manuel tells Zuma to be honourable ... and quit

Read more on:    casac  |  jacob zuma  |  sipho pityana  |  politics

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