Zuma recall talks off the menu in East London
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma lives to see another week as head of state.
Yesterday the party’s special national executive committee decided that it would only focus on its January 8 statement, deferring all other matters to its scheduled ordinary meeting next week.
The Star understands ANC officials agreed that the special meeting held at the East London Convention Centre should confine itself to the speech, which will be delivered by party president Cyril Ramaphosa in the Eastern Cape city on Saturday.
Some of Ramaphosa’s supporters had wanted to use the first gathering of the party’s top brass to pass a motion of no-confidence in Zuma and have him recalled from the Union Buildings.
An NEC member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the party’s Top 6 confined the meeting’s agenda to the preparation of the January 8 statement on Tuesday night.
Zuma’s supporters appeared to consider the postponement of the matter to next week as a victory.
ANC NEC member and Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini confirmed the meeting had been confined to the agenda prepared by the Top 6.
“It (Zuma recall) never arose,” Dlamini said.
Pressure has been mounting on Zuma to step down after last month’s national elective conference, which saw Ramaphosa succeed him, as ANC stalwarts and the party’s allies, the SACP and Cosatu, stepped up their calls for Zuma to be ousted at yesterday’s meeting.
Another NEC member said that ordinary issues of the NEC would be discussed at next week’s meeting.
“We are meeting again next week, all other issues will be discussed there,” said the NEC member, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
Some of those issues include the election of subcommittee heads, and the party’s national working committee. Zuma’s recall could be raised from the floor at the meeting.
Earlier, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told journalists on the sidelines of the meeting that Zuma’s future was not on the agenda.
Magashule said other issues that were expected to feature on the agenda, such as the election of national working committee members, “will come at a next proper meeting of the NEC”.
“This one is specially to discuss January 8.”
Magashule, a Zuma backer, said the nation should not be worried about the issue of two centres of power.
“There are no two centres of power, there is only one centre, and that centre is the ANC. That matter was not for any discussions and debates, as the president (of the country) and the president of the ANC are continually meeting and engaging. Therefore there was no matter to be discussed,” he said.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa added: “It is not like the agenda is still to be adopted; the agenda has been adopted, and there is no additional issue.”
Magashule refused to answer questions about Zuma announcing the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, saying the matter was irrelevant to why the ANC had gathered in East London.
Hours before the NEC meeting, Zuma announced the establishment of the commission in what was interpreted by Ramaphosa supporters as a ploy to save his skin.
Outside the ANC, efforts continued to oust Zuma.
Yesterday, the EFF called for an independent panel of retired judges be appointed to head his impeachment trial.
This came as Parliament met to discuss new rules for the removal of a sitting head of state, following a recent Constitutional Court ruling that the National Assembly had failed to hold Zuma to account, and that Parliament had also been derelict in its duty.
The EFF’s proposal would see the possible removal of Zuma by March if all parties agree.
The National Assembly’s subcommittee met yesterday to deliberate on a draft procedure for implementing section 89(1) of the constitution, which deals with the removal of a president.
EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi suggested that the proposed rule include a parliamentary fact-finding inquiry before a motion of no confidence.
“We couldn’t subject the motion to impeachment to a vote, the judgment rules that out, or a committee. We should open our minds to be creative. What the judgement does is kill our options.
“Our proposal is that we must have a panel of retired independent judges, we must have a process of establishing them when the term of Parliament begins,” said Ndlozi. – Additional reporting by Mary Jane Mphahlele
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