‘Zuma must go or face pain in parliament’ — ANC faction warns

28 May 2017 - 02:04 By QAANITAH HUNTER
President Jacob Zuma received a welcome ego boost at the University of Zululand on Saturday.
President Jacob Zuma received a welcome ego boost at the University of Zululand on Saturday.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

Senior ANC leaders led the charge for President Jacob Zuma to be removed as head of state during the governing party's national executive committee meeting yesterday.

The meeting is expected to continue today, when Zuma's backers are expected to fight for the president's survival.

Insiders said ANC policy guru Joel Netshitenzhe fired the first salvo by raising concerns about the state of the party under Zuma, the lack of confidence society had in the ANC and the growing list of scandals involving the president.

Deputy Health minister Joe Phaahla is said to have backed Netshitenzhe by citing the ANC's disastrous performance during last year's local government elections as a reason Zuma had to be removed.

Sue van de Merwe, a former deputy minister of international relations, and others also joined the charge against Zuma.

Leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Zuma loyalists stood up for their man.

Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association chairman Kebby Maphatsoe, a Zuma backer, is said to have told the meeting that calls for the president to go were "nonsensical".

By the time the meeting had adjourned at around 6pm yesterday, it was unclear which side enjoyed majority support.

Zuma opened the meeting yesterday by delivering his political overview, which was described as "superficial".

Sources said a proposal was tabled to select 10 senior leaders to form a panel to adjudicate on the calls for Zuma to go.

"There is consensus that a team of 10 people be put together to work out proposals. There are motivations for him to step down and not stepping down. So the group would have to look at the balance of evidence and then make a recommendation," a source said.

This comes after a call for a secret vote on Zuma's future was shot down, with the majority of those at the meeting saying the NEC did not traditionally vote on matters.

A Zuma sympathiser who was at the NEC vowed to block any attempt to vote on the matter.

"We won't vote. You can't remove a sitting president.

"The constitution is clear - the NEC can't take decisions that are above the constitution and conference resolutions," said the leader.

Insiders said real discussion began after ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe delivered the national working committee report to the NEC.

"We could not debate Zuma's report, he said nothing. The real issues came in [Mantashe's] report," the source said.

Mantashe told the media yesterday that Zuma's removal was not on the agenda, but the call was made regardless of this.

The anti-Zuma faction was confident that it enough numbers to gain a consensus on the president's removal, but his supporters said his detractors were not raising anything new.

Zuma is said to have sat silently during the meeting.

Part of the strategy to remove Zuma through the NEC meeting was to point out the growing number of scandals involving the president and his friends the Guptas since the last discussion on his fate took place at an NEC meeting in November.

"Most people, even the president, [are] saying six months is not long ... let him see out his term ... We are saying we can't do it. The country cannot afford it. Look how much damage was done since November. And we are not only talking about the reshuffle," the source said.

In November, Derek Hanekom, who was tourism minister at the time, tabled a motion for Zuma to step down, but it was defeated.

Since then, Zuma reshuffled his cabinet, firing five ministers, all off whom are NEC members, and one deputy minister, without consulting ANC leaders.

The removal of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister led to S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings swiftly downgrading South Africa's foreign-denominated debt to subinvestment grade, or junk status, citing policy uncertainty.

Moody's Investors Service placed the country on review and is expected to make a rating decision on Friday.

The source said Gordhan raised concerns at the meeting but did not make an open call for Zuma to be removed.

On the controversy surrounding the reappointment of Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO, the meeting supported Mantashe's call for the decision to be rescinded.

The NEC meeting was scheduled to start on Friday, but began yesterday morning with Zuma's political report.

hunterq@sundaytimes.co.za

THOSE AGAINST ZUMA

1) Bheki Cele

2) Rob Davies

3) Enoch Godongwana

4) Pravin Gordhan

5) Derek Hanekom

6) Zizi Kodwa

7) Tina Joemat-Pettersson

8) Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

9) Fikile "Slovo" Majola

10) Tito Mboweni

11) Joyce Moloi-Moropa

12) Angie Motshekga

13) Mathole Motshekga

14) Aaron Motsoaledi

15) Jackson Mthembu

16) Joel Netshitenzhe

17) Thulas Nxesi

18) Blade Nzimande

19) Naledi Pandor

20) Joe Phaahla

21) Jeff Radebe

22) Ngoako Ramatlhodi

23) Lindiwe Sisulu

24) Stone Sizani

25) Max Sisulu

26) Gwede Mantashe

27) Cyril Ramaphosa

28) Zweli Mkhize

29) Oscar Mabuyane

30) Paul Mashatile

31) Hope Papo

32) Stan Mathabatha

33) Zamani Saul

34) Faiez Jacobs

35) Khaya Magaxa

36) Senzeni Zokwana

37) Thenjiwe Mtintso

38) Thoko Didiza

39) Siyabonga Cwele

40) Sibusiso Ndebele

41) Deshi Ngxanga

42) Gugile Nkwinti

43) Billy Masetlha

44) Ebrahim Ebrahim

45) Philly Mapulane

 

SUPPORT FOR ZUMA

1) Bathabile Dlamini

2) Ruth Bhengu

3) Lynne Brown

4) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

5) Obed Bapela

6) Sdumo Dlamini

7) David Mahlobo

8) Kebby Maphotsoe

9) Humphrey Mmemezi

10) Nomvula Mokonyane

11) Nathi Mthethwa

12) Sisi Ntombela

13) Sisisi Tolashe

14) Pam Tshwete

15) Fikile Xasa

16) Tony Yengeni

17) Lindiwe Zulu

18) Ace Magashule

19) Supra Mahumapelo

20) Dakota Lekgoete

21) Sihle Zikalala

22) Super Zuma

23) Collen Maine

24) Njabulo Nzuza

25) William Bulwane

26) Matuba Meokgo

27) Knocks Seabi

28) Jessie Duarte

29) Baleka Mbete

30) Lungi Gcabashe

31) Pule Mabe

32) Malusi Gigaba

33) Zoleka Capa

34) Mildred Oliphant

35) Edna Molewa

36) Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

37) Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

38) Nocawe Mafu

39) Sam Mashinini

40) Susan Shabangu

41) Pinky Moloi

 

NOT KNOWN WHERE THEY STAND

1) Ayanda Dlodlo

2) Nomaindia Mfeketo

3) Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

4) Rejoice Mabudafhasi

5) Dikeledi Magadzi

6) Regina Mahaule

7) Jane Manganye

8) Joyce Mashamba

9) Fikile Mbalula

10) Pinky Mokoto

11) Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele

12) Dipuo Peters

13) Miriam Segabutla

14) Rosina Semenya

15) Sue van der Merwe

16) David Mabuza

17) Mandla Ndlovu

18) Phumulo Masualle

19) Natso Khumalo

20) Mcebisi Skwatsha