Former politicians' views on Zuma irrelevant - ex-political prisoner body

2016-04-09 18:00
President Jacob Zuma. (Mike Hutchings, File)

President Jacob Zuma. (Mike Hutchings, File)

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Johannesburg - The Ex-Political Prisoners' Association (Eppa) has hit out at former leaders, some of whom were in the ANC, who have been calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down. 

In a statement, the group indicated they were not interested in the opinions of former leaders. 

"Those who were leaders previously should enjoy their freedoms but seek not to bore us with their individual viewpoints as former so-and-so," said Eppa deputy national secretary, Mpho Masemola. "This includes Comrades Cheryl Carolus, Trevor Manual and Zwelinzima Vavi," said Masemola. 

This week Carolus, who is the ruling party's fomer deputy secretary general, said: "I call on my president to step down."

"I was deeply saddened and thought... this has happened on our watch and all of us need to wake up and fix this on our watch or history has every right to judge us. I never thought I would stand up in public and say how deeply sad I am about what happens in my Parliament."

In an interview with Soweto TV last week, Manuel said the country was in a moment of "deep crisis" and it would be in the best interests of South Africa for Zuma to step down.

"The violation of the key oath of office of the head of state, which I think is a deep crisis. I think it's in all of our interests that the president actually steps aside," he said.

‘Darkest hour’

Meanwhile, Cosatu's former general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said the country was going through its "darkest hour" and was in the middle of a serious political and socio-economic crisis.

"The country is like a ship in the deepest ocean, at the darkest hour. Unfortunately the captains of the ship have lost their compass and they all blindfolded," he said. 

But Eppa said the opinions of all these people were irrelevant. 

"Even first graders do not run to the previous principals in order to address their issues. We have current leaders of all institutions that were constitutionally appointed. Organisational discipline is the basis of a constitutional democracy and must be respected as such," Masemola said. 

The group said it was surprised by the statements of ANC struggle hero, Ahmed Kathrada, who has also joined the chorus that is calling for Zuma to go.

"Our member and struggle hero, Cde Ahmed Kathrada's latest statements do not belong to the Kathrada we know,"Masemola said.

"We will meet with him to seek clarity. Two weeks ago we were involved with his foundation in promoting the cause of the Palestinian people and this was not raised with us."

‘Crisis of confidence’

Kathrada penned an open letter to Zuma where he lamented his agony at having to express his concerns.  Kathrada questioned Zuma's decision to stay in office, asking whether it would not deepen the "crisis of confidence" in government.

"I know that if I were in the President's shoes, I would step down with immediate effect. I believe that is what would help the country to find its way out of a path that it never imagined it would be on, but one that it must move out of soon," Kathrada said. 

On Friday, the SA Council of Churches announced that it had asked the ANC to convince President Jacob Zuma to resign.

Eppa advised the churches to practice what they preach and forgive Zuma for his faults. 

"We appeal to our church leaders to follow their own doctrine of accepting apologies," the group said. 

Last week, Zuma apologised to the nation after the Constitutional Court found that his failure to comply with the public protector’s remedial action in her report on spending on his Nkandla was a breach of the Constitution.

"The matter has caused a lot of frustration and confusion for which I apologise on my behalf and on behalf of government," Zuma said.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg

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