OUT IN THE COLD
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma, dealt a major blow when the ANC decided to recall him, faces further humiliation if he does not resign today.
The Witness has been reliably informed that ANC leaders will inform ANC MPs during today’s caucus meeting that Zuma’s presidency no longer enjoys the support of the party. The MPs will be told that they no longer have to support him in a vote of no confidence.
“Should he not resign by today, as expected of him, then he automatically loses the protection that ANC deployees enjoy in Parliament,” said a senior ANC MP who chairs one of Parliament’s portfolio committees. “Unfortunately, ANC MPs will not be able to defend him should there be a motion of no confidence in him — he will be on his own.”
The Presidency announced last night that Zuma will brief the media from 10 am today.
Today’s ANC parliamentary caucus meeting follows Monday night’s ANC national executive committee (NEC) decision to recall Zuma.
ANC secretarygeneral Ace Magashule yesterday told the media that the party expected Zuma to respect its decision. Speculation was rife yesterday that the embattled head of state might defy the organisation by refusing to step down.
“Indeed, if you look at Zuma’s track record, especially his attitude during the entire transition talks, the ANC leadership has good reason to suspect that he is planning to ignore the NEC’s resolution,” said another ANC MP. “It is precisely because of his attitude that a special caucus meeting has been called.”
The NEC’s resolution on Monday night followed feedback from ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, who since last week had been engaged in talks with Zuma aimed at persuading the embattled head of state to voluntarily vacate office.
Ramaphosa told NEC members during Monday’s meeting that Zuma had in principle agreed to step down but wanted three to six more months in office. The NEC rejected this and proposed decisive action in order to “steer the country towards greater levels of unity, renewal and inclusive economic growth”, Magashule said.
Magashule and ANC deputy secretarygeneral Jessie Duarte yesterday travelled to Zuma’s official residence in Pretoria to serve him with the NEC’s recall notice.
While Zuma had told the ANC leaders that he would officially respond to the NEC’s request today, Magashule said the NEC had not given Zuma a deadline. “However, when we recall our deployees we expect them to accept … we are treating this with urgency,” he said.
Magashule said Zuma’s recall had nothing to do with corruption probes that the president is facing.
“It’s about making sure that the new ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, also becomes the president of the country,” he said.
Uncertainty over whether Zuma would be fired has already resulted in the indefinite postponement of State of the National Address, which he was scheduled to have delivered last Thursday.
Magashule made it clear that there would be no interim president in the event of Zuma resigning as the NEC wanted Ramaphosa to become the country’s next leader.
Zuma’s recall happens as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) piled pressure on the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, to bring forward a motion of no confidence in Zuma that it had tabled for next week.
However, an ANC MP said the party would not support a motion of no confidence tabled by the opposition against Zuma.
“The NEC made the decision to recall Zuma. If Zuma refuses to go, then, the ANC caucus will table a motion of no confidence in him
… we are the majority party and can’t be seen to be collaborating with the opposition,” the
ANC chief whip
Jackson Mthembu has called for an urgent meeting of the chief whips of all the political parties in Parliament in a bid to defuse tensions caused by Zuma’s delayed departure.
The meeting will take place tomorrow in Parliament.
Apart from the postponement of all Parliament’s portfolio committee meetings, Zuma’s recall has also resulted in today’s cabinet meeting being moved to another date.
Meawhile, labour federation
Cosatu has called on the ANC to bring disciplinary charges against
Zuma for defying the party’s orders. • firstname.lastname@example.org
“... if you look at Zuma’s track record, especially his attitude during the entire transition talks, the ANC leadership has good reason to suspect that he is planning to ignore the NEC’s resolution.”