ANC NEC meeting called as Zuma still refuses to step down

2018-02-06 10:52
President Jacob Zuma.

President Jacob Zuma.

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In the clearest proof the ANC wants President Jacob Zuma removed as soon as possible, the party’s top leadership will be holding a meeting on Tuesday to consider whether he should be sacked.

The ANC national working committee (NWC), which held an emergency meeting on Monday following Zuma’s refusal to comply with the party decision that he should step down, called a special NEC meeting to decide his fate.

The NEC is the highest decision-making body between conferences. In 2008, the NEC recalled the then president Thabo Mbeki.

The NWC decision comes at a time when there is growing evidence that the majority of Zuma supporters are now deserting him over his defiance in the face of widespread calls for him to step down before the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday.

Several ANC MPs who had come to Zuma’s defence during previous attempts to oust him in Parliament told The Witness that they no longer had the appetite to defend him.

“As far as I’m concerned the struggle to save Zuma is no longer winnable. I’m actually surprised that he is fighting to be allowed to deliver Sona. Can you imagine the insults opposition parties will be hurling at him?” asked a Zuma supporter who is a previous cabinet minister. “I think it will be in his best interests to resign and spare himself the humiliation.”

The party’s NWC on Monday held an emergency meeting after Zuma reportedly turned down a request from the ANC’s top six leaders to step down.

Zuma apparently told the ANC delegation, led by party deputy president David Mabuza, that he would only resign if he received protection against criminal prosecution.

The embattled president’s continued presence in the Union Buildings is already threatening to create disruptions elsewhere.

On Tuesday violence broke out between ANC supporters and a group of the pro-Zuma Black Land First (BLF) members, who had planned to protes outside the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters.

Zuma’s refusal to step down has also widened divisions within the ANC, with party members perceived to be supporting him coming under attack by those aligned to the new top brass, which is led by the country’s deputy president and party leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

ANC members, who branded themselves defenders of Luthuli House, yesterday booed the party’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, for his supposed support of Zuma. The crowd called him a “thief” and “sell-out”.

Chaos likely if Zuma tries to give Sona

Opposition parties are threatening to create unprecedented chaos in Parliament should Zuma be allowed to deliver Thursday’s Sona.

 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said the fact that Zuma had been told to step down by the ANC meant that it would no longer be in the country’s interest for the embattled head of state to address Parliament.

 “Sona must come. Our people need to know the state of affairs. But it must be delivered by a different person who respects the Constitution,” Malema said.

Malema told the ANC leadership to let the opposition deal with Zuma since it had failed to remove him: “Leave him to us. It looks like this guy has defeated you.”

Zuma, who allegedly told the ANC top six he was not prepared to step down as he had not done anything wrong, also faces potential criminal charges.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is scheduled to decide in two weeks whether the 783 fraud and corruption charges he had previously faced should be reinstated.

And the embattled head of state is expected to be implicated in allegations of state capture to be probed by the commission of inquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo.

Zuma yesterday met Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini in one of his Majesty’s palaces in Ulundi, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

There was speculation that the meeting had been arranged so the king could convince Zuma to step down but there was no confirmation of this by late last night.

“It was a private meeting and as such we don’t have a clue what was being discussed,” Zwelithini’s spokesperson, Prince Thulane Zulu, said.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, described the meeting as a scheduled one.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  jacob zuma

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