Jacob Zuma expected to shun MP role and keep his benefits

23 December 2018 - 00:03 By QAANITAH HUNTER
Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to decline his nomination to be an MP.
Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to decline his nomination to be an MP.

It's highly unlikely that former president Jacob Zuma will accept his inclusion on the list of new ANC MPs despite being nominated by several branches.

ANC bosses at Luthuli House on Friday indicated that they did not expect Zuma to accept the nomination to serve as a backbencher after he was nominated to serve as an MP in the next parliament.

Zuma made it to the party's list of preferred candidates to serve in the incoming National Assembly, which was consolidated by the party's national list committee this week, with Zuma emerging as No 74.

ANC acting spokesperson Dakota Legoete said he believed it was unlikely the former head of state would be keen to take up a position on the backbenches of parliament.

"Being president is full-time even after you leave office. I don't think the former president will want to go to parliament," Legoete said.

If he took up the job of an MP, Zuma would have to forfeit his presidential benefits, including a guaranteed salary for life that currently stands at R3m a year, as well as perks such as a security detail.

Becoming an MP would also force him to publicly declare all his financial interests, company directorships and other assets because this is required of ordinary MPs.

Zuma's spokesperson Vukile Mathabela said the former president was not aware that he had been nominated by ANC branches. "It is an ANC process that they will deal with at the national list conference," he said.

Legoete said the ANC national list conference, which was expected to take place in Durban on January 4 and 5, would discuss the matter of Zuma's nomination before the list was finalised by the party's national executive committee (NEC).

Legoete said: "The NEC on the 6th [of January] will decide and accept the list to submit to the Independent Electoral Commission."

An ANC leader who is part of the national list committee and spoke on condition of anonymity said Zuma's appearance on the list to parliament was an effort to prove he remained a popular figure within the party.

"It's just to show that he has support and he has branches behind him," the leader said.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was this week expected to write to Zuma, officially informing him of his nomination.

This week Zuma told his foundation's annual chess tournament that he would remain on the scene to make his detractors "frustrated for a long time".

Meanwhile, the so-called raw list of nominated people was expected to be fine-tuned to ensure gender parity and accommodate new talent.

In an unprecedented move, all the top six officials of the ANC have made it to the nominations list.

But Magashule, his deputy Jessie Duarte as well as treasurer-general Paul Mashatile were expected to decline nomination as their positions are full-time in terms of the party's constitution.

"The ANC NEC will have to decide whether the will of the branches trumps the ANC constitution," said Legoete.

Next month's meeting is also expected to decide the fate of controversial ANC personalities such as former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, who came in at No 58 on the list.

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