Zuma is owed an apology - ANCYL

Johannesburg - Repeated calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down are senseless and illogical, African National Congress Youth League secretary general Njabulo Nzuza has said.

Those making such demands needed to ask for Zuma's forgiveness, he told News24 on Tuesday.

"I think we honestly owe president Zuma an apology. He was insulted in the streets of Pretoria," Nzuza said, referring to the nationwide protests on April 7 and 12.

He dismissed them as tactics to destabilise the ANC and said that, even if Zuma were removed, his successor would face criticism from the opposition as well.

The protests were fuelled by Zuma's late night Cabinet reshuffle on March 30. He axed five ministers, including Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

Top six

Three of the ANC's top six leaders spoke out against the decision, which they said had been made "elsewhere". Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa described it as "unacceptable".

Nzuza said the calls were generated by fears about the impact Gordhan's firing would have on the markets and the currency.

"The rand has shown strength. What then today is the argument for Zuma to go, because he has not collapsed the markets?"

He questioned why Zuma was also blamed for collapsing the markets when he axed finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with former Merafong mayor Des van Rooyen in December 2015.

Major financial institutions had colluded to fix the rand, he said.

"People were saying this man is collapsing our economy on the basis that the rand will tumble, it will go down, investor confidence will go down, people will get poorer, we are turning into Zimbabwe; things are going to get very bad. A couple of weeks later there is financial stability in the country, financial markets are stable."

Watch here: No basis for motion of no confidence

Nzuza said he saw no reason for the motion of no confidence against Zuma to go ahead in the National Assembly, since the markets were stable.

The debate, which was initially set for April 18 has been postponed, pending the outcome of a Constitutional Court bid by the United Democratic Movement to allow MPs to vote in a secret ballot.

The ANC's MPs would not fall for the opposition's tricks, he said.

"Even the DA, in its own constitution, says no member must vote against the DA," Nzuza said.

He dismissed calls by some ANC members for a special national executive committee meeting to discuss the Cabinet reshuffle and how it was handled.

Some NEC members, including Mathole Motshekga, had called for a special sitting. Nzuza criticised the ANC for allowing some in the collective to position themselves as individuals.

A previous extended national working committee meeting had expressed its approval for the reshuffle, he said.

"No other structure has said otherwise, so why do people want to establish themselves as individuals of the organisation?" he asked.

The NEC would likely approve of Zuma's decision as well.

"You [Zuma] have done very well, brought a new generation of leaders in the fore. The rand has continued to stabilise, the markets continue to show confidence and, yes, we have been downgraded by dubious institutions, but we continue," Nzuza said.

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