Zuma re­call talks off the menu in East Lon­don

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIVIWE FEKETHA

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


BUZZING: The in­flux of ANC mem­bers for the party’s 106th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions has given East Lon­don’s econ­omy a wel­come boost.

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