Recall ‘a rumour’

2018-01-03 13:30
President Jacob Zuma.

President Jacob Zuma. (File)

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Supporters of President Jacob Zuma, who for the first time in his tenure finds himself with his back against the wall, have dismissed as “mere rumour” talk that he was about to be recalled.

“From what we are picking up there is nothing tangible about those statements, it’s just a rumour and we don’t know where it is coming from,” Super Zuma, ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary of the disbanded provincial executive committee (PEC) said.

This as the new ANC top brass led by party president Cyril Ramaphosa come under heavy pressure to recall Zuma before next month’s opening of Parliament where Zuma is scheduled to deliver the State Of the Nation Address (Sona).

Ramaphosa and those who supported him during the build up to last month’s ANC elective conference in Nasrec where he defeated former AU chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, want Zuma removed as soon as possible.

However, Ramaphosa’s inner circle is also concerned about a possible backlash from Zuma’s supporters, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, should Zuma’s removal become hostile.

“There is a general consensus that he should go, but people are also mindful of the negative impact his removal might have on party unity. If not handled with the necessary care, chances are good that Zuma’s supporters would revolt.

“We can’t afford to alienate his supporters, particularly given that we need a united ANC to win next year’s elections,” said an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member who is one of those who played a pivotal role in getting Ramaphosa elected.

Even the ANC stalwarts, who previously called for the ANC to eject Zuma from the presidency, now prefer a dignified exit for him.

In their New Year’s resolution message sent out on Sunday, the stalwarts urged Zuma to consider resigning as leader of the country to make it easier for the new ANC leadership to map out a way forward for the country.

“A starting point and a clear message to the country, would be for our country’s president to voluntarily step down in the interests of country and the African National Congress.

“If the president really loves the ANC and wants it to remain in power by 2019 he would assist it by handing over the leadership of the country to the newly elected president of the ANC to better prepare for the 2019 elections,” the stalwarts said.

Zuma, who in the last week made several public appearances, mostly around his rural town of Nkandla, has not sent out any signals he is about to throw in the towel.

While Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Nqulunga, avoided answering specific questions around the president’s future, he claimed it was business as usually in the presidency.

“Staff in the presidency are on holiday in various parts of the country, those supporting the principals directly have been working as usual, with no problems at all. For example, staff working on the community Christmas programme of President Zuma have been busy as usual,” he said.

Zuma is currently facing a slew of criminal charges coupled by allegations he had made it easier for members of the controversial Gupta family to “capture the state”.

Those calling for Zuma to step down have said the ANC was likely to lose elections if he were to be allowed to stay on until the 2019 general elections.

Zuma has come under renewed pressure to vacate office following a string of court judgments that went against him in recent weeks.

The former ANC president also angered some within the party after his decision last week to appeal the recent court judgment ordering him to establish a commission of inquiry into state capture.

This is despite the fact that ANC delegates at the elective conference had resolved that a commission of inquiry into state capture needed to be established “as soon as possible”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  jacob zuma

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