The chorus calling for Zuma to resign is growing

2016-04-09 09:01
In this file photo taken on February 11 2016 President Jacob Zuma, arrives at Parliament for the State of the Nation address. (Mike Hutchings, File)

In this file photo taken on February 11 2016 President Jacob Zuma, arrives at Parliament for the State of the Nation address. (Mike Hutchings, File)

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WATCH: Zuma booed in Pretoria

2016-04-08 09:28

President Jacob Zuma was booed on Thursday evening in Pretoria when he was leaving the council chambers where the National House of Traditional Leaders held a debate. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg – It has been a turbulent time for the ANC as its leadership wrestles in the face of mounting pressure for President Jacob Zuma to step down or for the party to take action.

The calls for Zuma to resign have increased since the Constitutional Court's judgment regarding upgrades to his Nkandla home.

Trouble started brewing when former and current ANC officials revealed that they had been offered Cabinet positions by the politically connected Gupta family, who are said to be close to Zuma.

This culminated when the highest court in the land ordered that Zuma had failed to uphold the Constitution by not complying with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial action regarding payment for the non-security upgrades to Nkandla.

The pressure for Zuma to resign is not only coming from opposition parties but from ANC veterans, members, civil society and religious bodies.

Here is a list of prominent figures and organisations who have called on Zuma to "do the right thing" and step down or for the ANC to take action:

Stalwart foundations

Following the Gupta revelations, the three stalwarts' foundations sent a letter to the ANC national executive committee calling on it to take corrective measures.

Its signatories were Frene Ginwala, chairperson of the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation; Professor Njabulo Ndebele, chairperson of the board of trustees of the Nelson Mandela Foundation; and Tourism Minister and NEC member Derek Hanekom, on behalf of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

They said they were disturbed by several accounts they had received from students, religious leaders, members of the community, the media and civil society organisations.

The group called on the party to take decisive responsibility by implementing urgent "corrective" action in the interests of all South Africans.

The foundations have since met with the ANC leadership. Secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the party would meet them again.

ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada

ANC struggle hero Kathrada, in an open letter dated March 31, called on Zuma to resign.

He lamented his agony at writing to a sitting president saying he had never felt "the time would come when I would feel obliged to express my concerns to the Honourable President".

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."

Former finance minister and minister in the presidency Trevor Manuel

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.

A civil society call to action

Prominent members of civil society and the ANC stood on the steps of the Constitutional Court on Wednesday afternoon and demanded that Zuma resign from office.

Those present at what was called "a civil society call to action" were former deputy secretary general of the ANC Cheryl Carolus; ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang; former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils; former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi; former Constitutional Court Justice Zak Yacoob; Anglican Bishop Joe Seoka and former ANC Youth League deputy president, Ronald Lamola.

In a declaration read out at the press conference, the group said South Africa was in the middle of a constitutional crisis and that Zuma was a liability.

"This campaign for Jacob Zuma to do the right thing and step down will not stop until the head of the rot is removed," they said.

"And when we succeed we shall remain vigilant. We do not seek one thief to be replaced with another thief."

The group has called on all South Africans on April 16 to hold organised discussions around the country and to make Freedom Day on April 27 "a day of action".

The ANC's Sefako Makgatho branch 

In a letter sent to Mantashe on Wednesday, the ANC's Sefako Makgatho branch in the Greater Johannesburg region called on Zuma to resign or face the party's integrity commission or the national disciplinary committee.

The branch has recommended two options on how it believed the NEC should deal with Zuma.

The first option was to ask Zuma to resign as ANC president and president of the country and allow Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to act in his place until the party's next conference in 2017.

If the president refused to resign, the second option was to subject him to suspension and face the integrity committee or the national disciplinary committee.

"The resolutions and constitution of the ANC are applicable to all of us. None of us is above it. His actions ... put the name of the ANC into disrepute and, as a result, they should subject him to the integrity committee of the ANC ...," branch chairperson Sasabona Manganye told News24.

On the same day, at the party's Liliesleaf Farm branch's political dialogue held in Midrand, Johannesburg, there appeared to be a consensus that other branches should follow the example of the Sefako Makgatho branch.

Advocate George Bizos

Bizos told eNCA he believed Zuma could not have been "ignorant" of what was happening at his Nkandla home.

"He should resign because of the manner in which he stood by while these structures were put up," he said.

"He could not possibly have been ignorant of what was happening."

Children of the exiles

The children of ANC leaders and veterans, who grew up in the party during the 1980s, have written to the party's national executive committee calling for a special national congress.

The group, which included relatives of ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu and uMkhonto weSizwe veteran Mavuso Msimang, wrote that they were specifically "outraged" by the movement's response to the Constitutional Court judgment.

They urged the NEC to call a special national congress as a matter of urgency to "assess the conduct of the organisation and the leadership and to determine the appropriateness of the leadership to take the organisation forward".

"A failure to act courageously and decisively endangers the legitimacy of our movement as well as the future of South Africa," they said.

The Jakes Gerwel Foundation 

The foundation, named after the academic and anti-apartheid activist, has called on the ANC NEC to restore "visionary cohesion and nation building in this hour of need in SA".

This followed the letter sent by the stalwart foundations asking the ANC to take "corrective action".

Foundation chairperson Fred Robertson said the organisation believed Gerwel – a "loyal, lifelong servant of the struggle for the liberation and upliftment of South Africa’s people" – would have supported the stalwarts’ intervention.

South African Council of Churches (SACC)

The SACC held a meeting with four of the ANC's top six officials on Friday and told reporters that it had asked them to convince Zuma to resign.

SACC general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said the ANC officials were pained and wrestling in the face of the mounting pressure.

"We need to appreciate that this is not an easy call to make. We could feel and sense the pain within the ANC delegation because they are wrestling with the same issue ... We recognised that much of our own congregations are also members of ANC, the pain is felt across the board.

"From the representation of the leadership that was there, we were welcomed in a warm way ... They were not able to respond directly, but they acknowledged that they heard the call ... We made assurance of saying the ANC leadership must assist his resignation. He must resign, he must not be seen as forced to resign," he said.

Former Cabinet Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge

Former deputy minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge has reportedly encouraged her former colleagues and current Cabinet ministers to call for Zuma to resign, Eyewitness News reported on Friday.

EWN said Madlala-Routledge felt Zuma's apology to the nation last week was "disrespectful of our intelligence".

"If you go back to his speeches you can see that he had not shown that he is going to respect the findings of the Public Protector. I think it’s important for him to say he’s sorry but that is not enough."

Read more on:    sacc  |  anc  |  trevor manuel  |  george bizos  |  jacob zuma  |  ahmed kathrada  |  johannesburg

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