Zuma told his ‘dead­line to quit has ex­pired’

The New Age (Free State) - - POLITICS - DEN­NIS CRUYWAGEN news@the­newage.co.za

THE gloves came off yes­ter­day as ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Paul Mashatile and chief whip Jack­son Mthembu tore into Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and told him his dead­line to quit had ex­pired.

They an­nounced that the Na­tional Assem­bly would sit to­day to vote on an ANC mo­tion to vote Zuma out. How­ever be­cause if he has not re­signed al­ready, the sit­ting will not take place. But the Na­tional Assem­bly will sit to­mor­row to elect ANC pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa as pres­i­dent. He will de­liver the state of the na­tion ad­dress to­mor­row evening.

“The press­ing is­sue is that we need to get ANC pres­i­dent Ramaphosa elected as pres­i­dent. Ev­ery­thing will flow from that. Ob­vi­ously is­sues of the new Cabi­net, those are is­sues that the pres­i­dent will deal with once elected,” ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Mashatile said at a me­dia brief­ing yes­ter­day.

He said: “We want to do things quickly. We are start­ing a new era. I did say to cau­cus that con­fer­ence (54th na­tional con­fer­ence held in De­cem­ber) has cre­ated in our peo­ple a new hope. We want to go with re­newal. We don’t have to be bick­er­ing about who should be pres­i­dent.”

Mashatile said: “There were dis­cus­sions with Pres­i­dent Zuma to find an exit for him. He has cho­sen not to agree to leave.”

Mashatile and ANC chief whip Mthembu spoke to the me­dia after a spe­cial cau­cus meet­ing in Par­lia­ment. They said the cau­cus, which was briefed about talks with Zuma, had been in sup­port of the no-con­fi­dence de­bate.

As the new pres­i­dent, Ram­pa­hosa will de­liver the state of the na­tion ad­dress to­mor­row night. The ANC also wants the Bud­get to be de­liv­ered as sched­uled next week.

“We will be firm that the de­bate on Sona will be held on Mon­day. We will be firm that the new pres­i­dent re­sponds on Tues­day. We will be firm that the Bud­get state­ment will be re­leased next week,” Mthembu said.

Asked what would hap­pen if Zuma re­signed in the in­terim, Mthembu said: “If there’s a res­ig­na­tion, good.”

The ANC’s move for the par­lia­men­tary re­moval of Pres­i­dent Zuma came after his re­fusal to re­sign and the in­tran­si­gence of the EFF to al­low the rul­ing party to change its mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in him.

This mo­tion was due to have been held next week, but the EFF has asked Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete to al­low it to hap­pen this week.

Mthembu, while con­firm­ing that the ANC had talks with the EFF about the mo­tion, said the ANC’s own mo­tion would amend that of the EFF and be voted on to­day. It would have been prefer­able for the ANC to ta­ble its own mo­tion. “It would have been nice for them to with­draw their mo­tion but they re­fused. Our rules al­low for amend­ment,” Mthembu said.

The ANC mo­tion would not have changed the sub­stance of the EFF’s mo­tion. “The amend­ments we are mak­ing as the ANC are amend­ments that will not de­tract. We are bring­ing our rea­sons why the pres­i­dent must be re­moved,” Mthembu said.

Mbete yes­ter­day in­formed EFF leader Julius Malema that the no-con­fi­dence de­bate has been sched­uled for 2pm to­day.

She had come to this de­ci­sion after dis­cus­sions with the leader of gov­ern­ment busi­ness, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Par­lia­ment’s chief whip Jack­son Mthembu, she said to Malema.

She also told him she had con­sid­ered his re­quest for a se­cret bal­lot, but had de­ter­mined that vot­ing should be held through an open bal­lot.

Mbete was re­spond­ing to Malema’s de­mand an EFF-spon­sored vote of no con­fi­dence sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary 22 should be this week.

Mean­while, the DA said it was heart­ened by the ANC de­ci­sion “to sup­port the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Pres­i­dent Zuma”.

“This af­firms what the joint op­po­si­tion has ar­gued that Zuma must be re­moved by Par­lia­ment as the only con­sti­tu­tional body em­pow­ered to elect and dis­miss pres­i­dents. This is an im­por­tant vin­di­ca­tion of the con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers of Par­lia­ment.”

NO CON­FI­DENCE DE­BATE: ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Paul Mashatile, left, and chief whip Jack­son Mthembu ad­dressed a me­dia brief­ing yes­ter­day.

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