‘What do you mean by transition?’ – Zuma on plan to remove him from office

 ANC secretary-general Paul Mashatile. Picture: Jan Right
ANC secretary-general Paul Mashatile. Picture: Jan Right

Had the ANC’s national executive meeting gone ahead as planned on Wednesday, the plan was to remove President Jacob Zuma from office.

This is according to ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile who told delegates at the African Mining Indaba that if Zuma did not resign willingly, the party’s top six were planning to remove him from office. Mashatile’s speech at the conference, which attracts investors from across the continent, was recorded and the leaked audio clip was sent to TimesLive on Wednesday night

Mashatile told the delegates on Tuesday evening that at Sunday night’s meeting with Zuma, the party’s top six had spoken to him about a “transition” process.

In the 12-minute recording, Mashatile began talking at length about the ANC election conference in December and how allegations of corruption had clouded the talk around the conference, but that it was “the past” and things were fine.

Listen to the clip here.

In the clip he spoke about the ANC being very clear about “good governance” since “we come from an era [in which] people are worried about state capture, corruption and mismanagement”.

He assured delegates that “there will be good governance” and that the ANC would be rooting out corruption and mismanagement.

He also said that the process of the state capture inquiry was “fully supported”.

Mashatile said to the audience: “Very interestingly, on Sunday evening President Zuma says to us: ‘What do you guys mean by transition?’ He says this is a strange word that you guys have just coined. ‘What is this thing, transition that you are talking about?’ So we say no you see, it’s a handing over of power from you to Cyril [Ramaphosa],” he said, followed by laughter from the delegates.

Mashatile detailed how they explained to Zuma how the transition process would work.

“We were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don’t want two centres of power, we want president Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC, but [also] the affairs of the state. And we were very clear about it.”

Zuma, however, according to Mashatile, resisted giving up office.

“President Zuma basically said to us: ‘I’m not going anywhere. [I’m] not convinced by you guys so I’m not going to resign. You can go back and report to your national working committee and the [national executive committee] that I said I’m not resigning.’”

Mashatile went on to say: “Where we are now, if the president does not want to resign voluntarily, we will recall him, like we did with President [Thabo] Mbeki.”

The audience, at this point, applauded Mashatile.

“And that we will do, tomorrow night,” he continued.

The national executive committee meeting, which was scheduled to take place on Wednesday – the day after Mashatile’s talk at the indaba – was later cancelled.

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