‘It’s far from over, Mis­ter Pres­i­dent’

ANC mem­bers and al­liance part­ners are set to take to the streets with civil or­gan­i­sa­tions to call for Zuma to go

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI, SETUMO STONE and S’THEMBILE CELE news@city­press.co.za

An­other bid to oust Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma fol­low­ing a failed op­po­si­tion mo­tion on Tues­day could see the ANC’s al­liance part­ners team­ing up with civil so­ci­ety and tak­ing to the streets. The planned mass ac­tion would also, for the first time, seek to in­volve ANC mem­bers who are dis­grun­tled with Zuma’s lead­er­ship, but have shunned pre­vi­ous protests to avoid as­so­ci­a­tion with the op­po­si­tion.

Lead­ing the charge is the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP), whose first deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Solly Ma­paila has de­fended ANC MPs who voted against Zuma in the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion on Au­gust 8 on the grounds that they have been “failed by the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship” of the al­liance.

The al­liance has also failed to act fast enough to re­move a dis­cred­ited leader, said Ma­paila, adding that Cosatu’s pend­ing de­ci­sion on the fi­nal date for a na­tional strike against state cap­ture would be use­ful.

He said that all the ANC’s al­lies would meet to con­cre­tise a joint pro­gramme that en­tailed demon­stra­tions through­out the country against Zuma, whose stay in of­fice “con­tin­ued to rip the country apart”.

There was no time frame set for the in­ten­sive mass mo­bil­i­sa­tion, but the party had started work­ing with civil so­ci­ety – of­ten de­monised by the ANC as regime-change forces since pub­licly mak­ing a call for Zuma to re­sign.

Save SA this week in­di­cated that the worst was yet to come for Zuma. It called on all South Africans to join civil so­ci­ety in the fi­nal wave of strug­gle to iso­late Zuma and en­sure he was re­called by his own party be­fore his term of of­fice ended.

Over the next few days, it would con­sult with other civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions un­der the ban­ner of Fu­ture SA to en­sure that Zuma is re­moved as head of state.

The SA Coun­cil of Churches, through its sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Bishop Malusi Mpuml­wana, said that it was time or­di­nary South Africans rose up and took charge of their own fu­ture, in­stead of re­ly­ing on politi­cians.

Zuma will be fight­ing off three court cases in the next few weeks until Septem­ber. This in­cludes the “spy tapes” case, the im­peach­ment mo­tion by the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers and the re­view of the Public Pro­tec­tor’s state cap­ture re­port.

A nar­row 21 votes en­sured Zuma’s sur­vival in the Na­tional Assem­bly, but the sup­port for the op­po­si­tion mo­tion by ANC MPs has left a bit­ter taste with ANC lead­ers who sup­port Zuma.

Free State ANC chair­per­son Ace Ma­gashule on Fri­day called on those MPs to re­sign from the ANC. But at­tempts to sniff out those who did are prov­ing frus­trat­ingly dif­fi­cult as a re­sult of the vote hav­ing been by se­cret bal­lot.

Com­ments by ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize that the dis­si­dents were out of line have given the Zuma fac­tion hope that their con­cerns were get­ting at­ten­tion at the high­est level in the ANC.

Al­though he said the con­duct of the dis­si­dents was un­ac­cept­able, Mkhize pre­ferred that the ANC face the hard re­al­ity and deal with the rea­sons that led to what tran­spired in Par­lia­ment, “as raw and thorny as it comes”. The dif­fi­cul­ties that led to the in­ter­nal re­volt must be ironed out.

“Years ago, we would have thought that, if you speak about ANC mem­bers of Par­lia­ment vot­ing with the op­po­si­tion, we would have said it’s im­pos­si­ble. So it’s a se­ri­ous con­cern that we are see­ing (sic).

“There is a lot of in­ter­nal anal­y­sis needed to deal with what hap­pened. It’s a symp­tom of some of th­ese chal­lenges that we are fac­ing as an or­gan­i­sa­tion. It’s a symp­tom of dif­fi­cul­ties in not be­ing able to re­solve is­sues among our­selves ... al­low­ing the op­po­si­tion [to take] ad­van­tage of us.” Mkhize said it was un­der­stand­able that some ANC mem­bers would call for those who de­fied the party to be dis­ci­plined, but cau­tioned against bas­ing this on names cir­cu­lat­ing with­out hav­ing been ver­i­fied.

“A proper process will as­sist us on who has done what. With­out ev­i­dence, it’s not an is­sue you can treat hap­haz­ardly. It may be tricky to dis­ci­pline them with­out a proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion [into] who did what. There hasn’t been a proper meet­ing to deal with this is­sue, so there is noth­ing con­crete of what the next steps are and so I can’t pre­dict.”

Ma­paila said the SACP would de­fend its mem­bers who are MPs and counted among those la­belled “traitors”.

Cosatu deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Solly Phetoe re­cently told City Press plans for a na­tional shut­down of the econ­omy over state cap­ture and cor­rup­tion have been put in place and a for­mal strike no­tice has been sub­mit­ted with Ned­lac.

The SACP has re­solved to sup­port the Cosatu sec­tion 77 strike against state cap­ture, ex­pected to take place at the lat­est be­fore the end of Au­gust.

The ANC in­sists that re­mov­ing Zuma is a threat to sta­bil­ity in the party and govern­ment.

City Press has learnt that ANC sec­re­tary­gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe used the same ar­gu­ment to save Zuma at a meet­ing with the ANC cau­cus a few hours be­fore the mo­tion was de­bated in the Na­tional Assem­bly on Tues­day.

It’s un­der­stood most ANC MPs who would ini­tially have voted with their con­science against Zuma and risked be­ing dealt with, started to “re­treat” af­ter the cau­cus meet­ing with Man­tashe, where he painted a pic­ture of an ANC too di­vided to agree on a can­di­date to re­place Zuma if he goes.

Man­tashe, who took the plat­form alone as Zuma watched, told MPs Zuma’s de­par­ture would force an early elec­tion, prob­a­bly in De­cem­ber, at the same time as the party was sup­posed to be hold­ing an na­tional con­fer­ence.

“The ear­lier threat that peo­ple would be dis­ci­plined if they voted with the op­po­si­tion did not have any ef­fect,” said an anti-Zuma MP. “But when Man­tashe spoke at the cau­cus, peo­ple started talk­ing about be­ing cau­tious and not to act reck­lessly.”

A pro-Zuma ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber said Man­tashe was “bril­liant,” adding that af­ter he had spo­ken, ev­ery­one agreed with his in­put and the meet­ing ended.

Many in the ANC be­lieve that the party’s De­cem­ber con­fer­ence will give it the fresh start it needs.

“We are go­ing to fight until the bit­ter end, so only the na­tional con­fer­ence will save the ANC and give us di­rec­tion,” said a Zuma ally.

Ma­paila warned that ANC mem­bers would get a rude awak­en­ing if they con­tin­ued to be­lieve the false no­tion that a so­lu­tion would be found at that gath­er­ing.

“What they don’t know is that Zuma and his fac­tion are al­ready steal­ing elec­tions. We re­ported to the ANC sec­re­tariat as early as last Novem­ber that votes were be­ing stolen. They did noth­ing about it.”

Mean­while, the DA has de­fended its de­ci­sion to call for early elec­tions and for Par­lia­ment to be dis­solved. The sug­ges­tion has been re­jected by most op­po­si­tion par­ties.

DA spokesper­son Phumzile van Damme said that the country could not sur­vive un­der the ANC until 2019. “It is time for early elec­tions. This is what hap­pens in a democ­racy. Some­times a snap elec­tion is re­quired, it hap­pens. Also be­cause, for the first time, ANC MPs voted with the op­po­si­tion in a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence, it demon­strates that the ANC it­self does not have the high­est con­fi­dence in Zuma. You can’t separate Zuma from the ANC.”

She said there were sta­tis­tics that showed that the ANC was polling un­der 50% and has been for some time now.

“What is wrong with say­ing, let us use a demo­cratic process to al­low South African vot­ers to say whether or not they want to be led in the cur­rent tra­jec­tory?”

PHOTO: TE­BOGO LETSIE

LIP SER­VICE Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma joins the con­gre­ga­tion at the St John’s Apos­tolic Faith Mis­sion in Eva­ton

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