IN FULL | Paul Mashatile spills the beans on exit talks with Zuma
ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile earlier this week gave a glimpse into talks going on behind closed doors to hasten President Jacob's exit.
Mashatile told delegates at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday that the national executive committee of the ANC had planned to oust Zuma after a meeting on Wednesday. That was before the meeting was cancelled. Nevertheless‚ Mashatile's remarks at the conference are revealing. An audio clip of the talk was leaked to TimesLIVE on Wednesday. Below is a full transcript of the speech.
"We had a meeting as part of the top six and it ended up in the very late in the evening… but I'm happy to see all of you. You know‚ I think it's going to be a very exciting year for us and I'm happy that the Mining Indaba seems to have gone very well.
"You will recall that we had a conference of the ANC in December and it was one of those activities that was really watched by everybody and some people were saying‚ 'Will this conference take place‚ is it going to collapse? And so on. But it's history now‚ it happened and was concluded on the 20th of December.
"The good thing is that there is a new leadership … I think that is the first point and of course people had their various hopes. There are those that wanted Cyril Ramaphosa to be president and there are those that wanted Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and‚ as you all know‚ I was on the side of Cyril‚ and so we won.
"Now I think on the minds of many people is that‚ 'Okay‚ so Cyril is now president with his friend Paul Mashatile and now what are they going to do?' Many of you have heard the president speaking at many platforms and one of the important things that we thought we should do is to be very clear with our message that we are going to ensure good governance‚ particularly because we come from an era where people have been worried about state capture‚ corruption [and] mismanagement.
One of the first things we want to assure you on is that there will be good governance‚ we will root out corruption and mismanagement and we fully support the process of state capture to sort out all the wrongdoings that has been happeningPaul Mashatile
"So one of the first things we want to assure you on is that there will be good governance‚ we will root out corruption and mismanagement and we fully support the process of state capture to sort out all the wrongdoings that has been happening. Beyond that‚ we want to make sure that the president (Ramaphosa) has used the word 'economic recovery' and we want to make sure that the economy grows so that it can create much-needed employment for our people.
"In order to do that you need to ensure that your government departments work properly [including] provinces but in particular your state-owned enterprises (SOEs)‚ that's why you saw that intervention at Eskom. The intervention at Eskom was not Jacob Zuma‚ it was us (ANC top six). We went to him and said we want to change this and of course he also understood that there's a new president of the ANC‚ so the buck stops at Luthuli House. So we said 'Change this‚' and we gave him the names that we want there and what change we wanted and that is going to happen at all state-owned enterprises. You can't say to investors‚ 'Come and invest in our country‚' when in fact they can see that things are not being done properly. So sorting out state-owned enterprises [and] government departments is a priority for us.
"Of course we came up with a lot of policies from that conference so if you are interested in a particular one‚ you can talk to me later on. I can't go through all of them [because] I have been warned that speakers here speak for five minutes‚ so I'm very worried [because] I've been given big names. Thabo Mbeki was here‚ [FW] de Klerk [and] Cyril Ramaphosa.
"Now people in the country and maybe all over the world want to know … we have been talking about the word … we just coined it 'managing the transition' and very interestingly on Sunday evening‚ President Zuma says to us‚ 'What do you guys mean by transition?' He said this is a strange word that you guys have just coined. What is this thing you are talking about called transition? And we said to him it's handing over power from you to Cyril‚ but we are managing that.'
"Let me tell you‚ one of the problems in the ANC is that the term of office of the ANC and first especially when you are now doing your second term‚ you're still left in government with 18 months and it always creates a problem. In the past with president [Nelson] Mandela it was easy because president Mandela said‚ 'Look‚ I'm going to let Thabo Mbeki run government‚ I'll just be dealing with other ceremonial activities.' So you couldn't see that tension in the past. Fast-forward‚ president Mbeki's time to leave‚ he's still there‚ Jacob Zuma is now the president of the ANC and he thinks certain things should be done in a particular way‚ but Mbeki does them in a particular way and he (Zuma) gets irritated so the tension grew faster and the NEC (national executive committee) said‚ 'Well‚ let's recall him so that the leadership elected by conference takes charge.'
"So we were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don't want two centres of power; we want President Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC‚ but [also] the affairs of the state. And we were very clear about it. The six of us were there and we came very late from Limpopo to meet with him and have dinner with him. Our view as the leadership of the ANC is that the sooner the president of the republic steps down for the new leadership to take over‚ the better because then you have certainty of policy‚ of direction … there will be no confusion.
We were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don't want two centres of power; we want President Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC‚ but [also] the affairs of the state. And we were very clear about itPaul Mashatile
"You as investors‚ you want to ensure that when you meet the team led by president Ramaphosa and you say‚ 'This is not going to happen‚ what is President Zuma thinking on the same matter?' because coming out on Sunday night‚ which is now news‚ President Zuma basically said to us‚ 'I'm not going anywhere‚ I'm not convinced by you guys so I'm not going to resign. You can go back and report to your national working committee and the NEC that I'm not resigning.' We tried to persuade him‚ we spent a lot of time and at the end we said‚ 'That's fine.'
"So‚ where we are now‚ we said if the president doesn't resign voluntarily‚ we will recall him like we did with President Mbeki and that we will do tomorrow night (Wednesday) … that's what we are going to do. I'll tell you why we want to do this‚ because if the president doesn't want to resign for whatever reason‚ we have a party to run that is going to be very soon‚ in an election campaign and we don't want to be dealing with other problems‚ we have too many of our problems. So what we want to do is to ensure that we are not involved with votes of no confidence or impeachment that will affect our party.
"Yes a motion of no confidence will affect President Zuma‚ impeachment will affect him personally. He's prepared to go through that‚ we are not and we made it clear to him. We are not prepared to go that route‚ so we said if you don't resign‚ we are going back to the NEC. So the NWC basically said we need to recall the president‚ so that is why we postponed the Sona (State of the Nation Address) this week. Once the Sona is presented‚ it must be clear what the message is for the future and I'm sure you'll agree with me that the one who is leaving can't give the message for the future … for me it's as simple as that.
"The one who is leaving must do a farewell address and I don't think we should do it at Sona. Sona is about‚'Guys‚ here we are and this is where we are going‚' and I think Ramaphosa should do that. So when you heard that Sona is postponed indefinitely‚ it doesn't mean that it will be six months‚ it will probably be a week … these things are going to happen fast. The NEC of the ANC will meet tomorrow in Cape Town [and] by Thursday you will have the decision and in my view I think there's only one decision: that the president of the republic must now give way to the new leadership of the ANC. We have been elected by conference and we take kindly by ourselves to be told by the one who's deployed what to do. We respected the president‚ we wanted to see him on Tuesday (last week) and on Wednesday when he came back from the AU‚ he said‚ 'No‚ see me on Sunday‚' and we obliged. But beyond that‚ he can't tell us what to do because we have been elected‚ the buck stops with Cyril Ramaphosa‚ nobody else.
"I worked with President Jacob Zuma for years and now it's time for change. So I want to assure all of you that the future is bright‚ government is open for business‚ we are going to focus on economic recovery."