‘Zuma agrees to quit’

2018-02-07 10:26
President Jacob Zuma.

President Jacob Zuma. (File)

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The ANC has called off Wednesday’s special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to discuss President Jacob Zuma’s future after claims that he had agreed to resign.

Impeccable ANC sources said the NEC meeting, which was scheduled to take place in Cape Town on Wednesday, was cancelled on deputy president and new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa’s instructions.

“I can confirm that Ramaphosa held talks with Zuma in Cape Town where the president of the country indicated that he would voluntarily step down,” a source said.

ANC national communications manager Khusela Diko confirmed that the special NEC meeting had been called off.

“I can confirm that ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa had directed that the meeting should be called off,” she said.

Asked to confirm the rumours that Ramaphosa called off the meeting after Zuma had agreed to resign, Diko said she had not been informed that the president would be resigning.

“I don’t have those kind of details. All I confirm is that a meeting between the ANC president and the country’s president did take place,” she said.

It is understood that Ramaphosa held extensive discussions with Zuma during a day in which it emerged that former Zuma allies had turned against him.

As the drama unfolded on Tuesday evening, the SACP made sensational claims that Zuma was plotting to fire Ramaphosa as deputy president.

In a statement released last night, the SACP claimed that it was in possession of evidence showing that Zuma was intending to replace Ramaphosa with former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the beaten candidate for the ANC presidency and Zuma’s former wife.

According to the SACP, Zuma’s alleged move was designed to ensure that Ramaphosa did not become the president of the country in the event of Zuma being recalled.

The claim was denied by the Presidency as “completely baseless”.

Earlier in the day, Parliament postponed Thursday’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Parliament’s presiding officers said the decision was taken because of fears of disruption if Zuma made the address.

However, commentators believed that it was actually triggered by the fact that Zuma was to be recalled by the ANC at the now cancelled NEC meeting.

The speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, and other presiding officers met Zuma in Cape Town yesterday to inform him that they were considering postponing Sona.

She said Zuma had told them he was in the process of requesting a reschedule.

“He told us that he was in the process of writing to us,” she said.

Mbete, who had earlier turned down a request by opposition parties for the postponement of Sona, said she had reconsidered after realising that the current political environment would not be conductive for the speech.

Opposition parties, whose leaders met Mbete early yesterday, had threatened to stage a protest in the National Assembly should Zuma be allowed to deliver Sona.

The ANC was reportedly considering tabling its own motion of no confidence against Zuma in Parliament had he gone ahead to deliver Sona while the party was discussing his exit.

“We have since looked realistically at the developments and we thought that we need to create a room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in Parliament,” said Mbete.

“We do have a proposal not to postpone by more than a week. So, if we can, a week will be sufficient.”

The postponement was announced as anti-Zuma sentiments within the ANC were reported to be rising.

Zuma’s failure to heed the ANC top six leadership’s call for him to resign is said to angered NEC members who had previously supported him.

Briefing the media on Tuesday, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said Zuma would have to comply should the NEC decide that he should step down.

“No ANC deployee can say I’m opposed once the NEC decides on a matter,” she said.

Duarte, alongside ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, is among party leaders who had been opposed to Zuma’s removal and recently said “Zuma is not going anywhere”.

Duarte said she was within her rights to express her view as the NEC had not yet taken any position on the matter.

“However, once the NEC makes a decision no one will contradict that decision in any way.

“If a collective makes a decision, I will never speak out against that decision,” she said.

The NEC is also under immense pressure from opposition parties as well as civil society to recall Zuma.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is also scheduled to decide soon whether the 783 fraud and corruption charges Zuma had previously faced should be reinstated.

On Tuesday the Nelson Mandela Foundation said Zuma had to step down as he had become a liability to the country.

“Hearings, investigations, enquiries and other forms of disclosure are providing overwhelming evidence that systematic looting by patronage networks linked to President Zuma have betrayed the country Nelson Mandela dreamed of as he took his first steps of freedom 28 years ago,” the foundation said in a statement.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  jacob zuma

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