OUT IN THE COLD

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - CLIVE NDOU PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

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

MP said.

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. • clive.ndou@wit­ness.co.za

“... 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.”

PHOTO: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA (FOTO24)

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