Divided NEC in ‘rough’ Zuma talks

2016-11-29 11:49
At least 34 members of the ANC’s bitterly divided National Executive Committee (NEC) have allegedly already asked President Jacob Zuma to step down.

At least 34 members of the ANC’s bitterly divided National Executive Committee (NEC) have allegedly already asked President Jacob Zuma to step down. (File)

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At least 34 members of the ANC’s bitterly divided National Executive Committee (NEC) have allegedly already asked President Jacob Zuma to step down.

During the NEC meeting in Irene, near Pretoria, 30 members spoke up in favour of Zuma as the meeting went into a long third day on Monday, EWN reported, after discussions with informed sources. Another 14 were said to be having their say last night.

The ANC announced late last night that it would hold a media briefing at Luthuli House at 2 pm on Tuesday [today] to reveal the outcome of the dramatic meeting.

Zuma’s future hangs in the balance after Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom “led him into an ambush” on Saturday with an unprecedented motion of no confidence.

The meeting was still going on at mid-evening, and party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa warned it would be a “long night”. The debate was described as “rough”, “fierce” and “robust”.

Just after 9 pm, Tuesday's [today’s] briefing was announced.

If Zuma survives the motion, there is speculation that his attackers would take their battle to Parliament, where just 52 ANC members would need to vote with opposition parties to pass a parliamentary motion of no confidence in the president. Web publication the Daily Maverick reported this is highly possible, particularly as ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu is reportedly one of the 34 opposed to Zuma.

Aside from Hanekom, all indications are that ministers Dr Aaron Motsoaledi (Health), Thulas Nxesi (Public Works) and Naledi Pandor (Science and Technology) turned on Zuma publicly.

Standing behind him were Malusi ­Gigaba (Home Affairs), Fikile Mbalula (Sport and Reaction) and his former wife, Dr ­Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union, ­eNCA reported.

Free State Premier Ace Magashule said ministers and deputies who supported the motion should resign or be fired, the Mail&Guardian reported.

He said such people could no longer serve under a president in whom they had lost confidence.

According to an NEC member, Magashule’s proposal was shot down, including by Zuma backers like Mbalula and Lindiwe Zulu (Small Business minister).

Despite the storm clouds around him, Zuma continued with his presidential programme, leaving the NEC meeting on Monday afternoon to receive Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and planning to travel to Cuba on Tuesday [today] to attend the funeral of Fidel Castro.

SABELO NSELE reported that Magashule’s position was echoed by the ANC Youth League in KZN, fierce Zuma supporters.

Provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo did not mince his words, as he called for an “urgent” cabinet reshuffle.

“A political coup attempt cannot go unpunished. Heads must roll! It is clear now that the president will be sabotaged by these ministers if he does not reshuffle his cabinet soon.”

The league’s eThekwini branch also called for the axe to fall on those who are against Zuma.

“Those who have decided to sell our movement for a few shares in big companies who use them to divide the African National Congress will face the wrath of the youth of the ANC,” said regional secretary Thinta Cibane.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said it does not see any reason for the party’s NEC to call on Zuma to step down.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  president jacob zuma

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