Opposition united in response to resignations

2008-09-23 00:00

Veteran politician Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert said the ministers who resigned are people who are close to Mbeki and who know they have no future in a cabinet under Kgalema Motlanthe or Jacob Zuma.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said the resignations signal the beginning of a “radical realignment” of South African politics. “It is clear that behind the display of unity there is deep dissatisfaction with the ANC NEC’s decision to recall the president.

“The time is now upon us to radically realign the political landscape. We must bring together all of those in the opposition and in the ruling party who believe in the supremacy of the Constitution and build an alternative to Jacob Zuma’s ANC,” Zille said.

“South Africans, now more than any other time before in our democracy, need decisive leadership and hope,” she added.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi described the resignations as “an unmitigated disaster”. Buthelezi said yesterday’s developments are a watershed moment in South African history. “This has demonstrated that the decision to recall President Mbeki by the ANC was made in indecent haste, was ill-conceived and ham-fistedly handled and can only serve to further erode the political stability of SA,” he added.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said the resignations are the latest repercussions of the new ANC’s “over-hasty” action against Mbeki.

“The chickens are coming home to roost. The Johnny-come-lately revolutionaries who now seem to pull the strings of the new ANC leadership are seeing the consequences of their ridiculous and inflammatory public commencements. Did they honestly believe that these people who have served with President Mbeki for more than a decade would simply smile and accept the gratuitous insults and allegations flung at them or the unjust and undignified manner in which he has been forced out of office?” Holomisa asked.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said the move shows that the ANC is now “at war with itself”. “The once-proud liberation movement has now definitely lost its way,” she said.

In a statement announcing her decision to resign, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said she believes the new president should choose his own deputy. She also cited personal reasons for her resignation and thanked Mbeki and the people of South Africa for the opportunity to serve the country.

As the news filtered out, a group of protestors, organised by the UDM, marched outside Parliament, in a show of solidarity towards Mbeki.

The protestors, dressed in yellow, carried placards saying, “Thabo Mbeki, you are not alone”, and “Julius Malema, do you sleep at night?”

The group said they wanted to express their anger at Mbeki’s resignation and at recent events in Parliament.

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