Zuma in the fir­ing line as ANC big shots gather

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SIVIWE FEKETHA and GE­ORGE MATLALA

PRES­SURE is mount­ing on Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to step down as head of state be­fore the ANC’s top brass meet on Wed­nes­day, with Cosatu and the SACP turn­ing up the heat.

Be­hind the scenes lob­by­ing for tabling a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Zuma con­tin­ued among Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s sup­port­ers. This came as Cosatu yes­ter­day re­it­er­ated its call that Zuma should step down as the ANC could not af­ford to have two cen­tres of power.

But some of Zuma’s staunch back­ers vowed they would block at­tempts to oust him. The ANC Youth League said it would lobby for Zuma’s de­fence should there be a move to re­move him at the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC).

The new NEC will meet for the first time after last month’s na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence, which saw Zuma suc­ceeded by Ramaphosa. ANCYL na­tional spokesman Mlondi Mkhize said re­call­ing Zuma would harm the rul­ing party. “There should be no rea­son why the pres­i­dent should go. The ANC should draw lessons from what hap­pened when for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki was re­called,” Mkhize said.

“If you look at the new NEC you can see that it is fairly bal­anced, and that will help should this mat­ter arise at the meet­ing,” he said.

ANCYL pres­i­dent Collen Maine, who was also elected into the NEC, re­fused to com­ment.

An NEC mem­ber known to sup­port Zuma said the is­sue of two cen­tres of power and Zuma’s fate had to be openly but sen­si­tively dealt with. “We all know now that this is the ele­phant in the room. We need to ad­dress it.

“We must, how­ever, en­sure that we do not re­peat our mis­takes with our eyes opened. We need to dis­cuss it and ex­plore ways in which we can re­solve this prob­lem with­out bruis­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” he said. Sev­eral NEC mem­bers closer to Ramaphosa have in­di­cated that they were wait­ing for the mat­ter to make its way onto the agenda of the NEC meet­ing to dis­cuss it

They in­cluded deputy agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Bheki Cele and for­mer ANCYL deputy pres­i­dent Ron­ald Lamola, who have both been call­ing for Zuma’s re­call.

Lamola said Zuma’s fate had to be dis­cussed and de­cided by the new NEC.

The ANC Women’s League could not say if it still stood by Zuma.

“We are wait­ing for the agenda. (It) has not been cir­cu­lated yet, so we don’t want to talk about some­thing that is not there,” ANCWL’s Toko Xasa said.

Xasa said the ANCWL would soon be meet­ing after the ANC’s 106th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions set for Satur­day in East Lon­don to re­flect on their po­si­tion on Zuma.

SACP gen­eral sec­re­tary Blade Nz­i­mande slammed Zuma for ap­peal­ing the re­cent rul­ing by the North Gaut­eng High Court on state cap­ture which set aside the pres­i­dent’s re­view ap­pli­ca­tion of for­mer Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela report.

The court also ruled that Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng chooses the judge to head up the com­mis­sion. Zuma has main­tained that he is the only one em­pow­ered by the Con­sti­tu­tion to se­lect who leads the in­quiry.

“You can’t ap­point a com­mis­sion to in­ves­ti­gate your­self. It is a very clear prin­ci­ple,” Nz­i­mande said. Cosatu gen­eral sec­re­tary Bheki Nt­shal­intshali said the first ANC NEC meet­ing should ex­am­ine the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ju­di­cial in­quiry into the state cap­ture. He again called on Zuma to re­sign.

“There can’t be two cen­tres of power. There must be one pres­i­dent. Pres­i­dent Zuma must step down.”

Yes­ter­day ANC na­tional chair­per­son Gwede Man­tashe said there were lead­ers in govern­ment who were ap­point­ing their own peo­ple into state-owned en­ter­prises and de­part­ments in a rush be­fore Ramaphosa be­comes head of state.

“It is a re­al­ity, where peo­ple want to ap­point di­rec­tors gen­eral in a rush; want to ap­point di­rec­tors of SOE in a rush so that be­fore Cyril takes re­spon­si­bil­ity, they have put their own peo­ple.

“It is a cor­rupt ac­tiv­ity that kind of ap­point­ment, be­cause all you are do­ing, you are elect­ing a pres­i­dent in Nas­rec and you are putting up brack­ets around him,” he added.

Ja­cob Zuma

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