Ayanda Mdluli and Karabo Ngoepe
The announcement by the Secretary-General of the ANC, ACE Magashule to recall president Jacob Zuma has left more questions than answers, with many things not making sense.
At a media briefing at Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg, Magashule reiterated that Zuma had done nothing wrong, was not found guilty of any crimes by any court of law, yet the National Executive Committee proceeded to have him recalled.
Answering a series of questions from journalists, Magashule said: “We did not recall Zuma because he had done something wrong, we recalled him because we want Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver the state of the nation address.”
This was all done in the context of putting the interests of the country first, where our society is still facing a series of “uncertainties” from an economic and political standpoint. None of the individuals delivering the press briefing could account as to what are those uncertainties that the country is facing.
“President Zuma has not been found guilty by any court of law. When we took this decision, we did not do it because comrade Jacob Zuma has done anything wrong. We decided as an organisation that in terms of our constitution, there is a president of the ANC now. We said Comrade Ramaphosa must become the president of the ANC and therefore if there will be SONA, it will be addressed by President Ramaphosa, there is no question about it. The reason for the recall was that we engaged and were looking forward to an amicable solution and we will see what President Zuma’s response is. It’s obvious that we want comrade Ramaphosa to come in as the President of South Africa. President,” said Magashule.
He added that Zuma had been given until Wednesday to respond to his recall. The decision is set to be challenged in court. TransformRSA has filed an urgent court application questioning the clause of the ANC Constitution used to recall him and to get him to resign.
The party has now set a precedent that every eight years, it will recall its president and the sitting head of state whose face was on the ballot box when he was democratically elected by the masses.
According to TransformRSA, the clause the ANC has relied on in their constitution to remove Zuma does not apply to the president of the republic. In its court bid, the organisation said it was challenging the outcomes of the ANC NEC meeting to recall Zuma from office.
Njabulo Nzuza, the secretary general of the ANC Youth said the organisation would look at finding a solution that will solvate the organisation.
“However, the NEC decision is final but we believe that there can be further engagements to resolve the situation,” he said.
He would not be drawn into commenting further on the inconsistencies that characterised today’s media briefing at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation welcomed the recall. It said for a long time now, many in the country have called for the removal of Zuma as President of the Republic. Spokesperson Thami Ntenteni said this was because- amongst others- he faces the possibility of prosecution for alleged criminal offences and is directly associated with negative developments such as the alleged corruption of various state bodies such as State-Owned Enterprises, the National Prosecuting Authority, State Capture and serious economic mismanagement.
“It has been obvious for many years that the interests of our country would be best served if indeed Mr Zuma ceased to be President of the Republic. We therefore welcome the decision announced today by the National Executive Committee of the governing party, the ANC, to recall Mr. Zuma as a deployee of the ANC in his capacity as President of the Republic. As a disciplined and loyal cadre of the ANC and out of respect for the constitution of the country, Mr. Zuma must communicate with the speaker of the House of Assembly to tender his resignation as the President of the Republic. This long overdue resolution by the NEC of the African National Congress gives the possibility for the ANC as the governing party to urgently and immediately attend to the many challenges and negative developments which have arisen during the years of the Presidency of Mr Zuma,” said Ntenteni.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry also welcomed the decision. The organisation said this matter has caused anxiety and created uncertainty with both governance and policy in the short to medium term.
“In this regard, we urge the ruling party to move with speed in settling the outstanding procedural matters including the conclusion of the parliamentary processes to enable the programme of government to progress without delay. The further uncertainty on lack of timelines will further cause uncertainty and hesitation as to where the country is headed. The country faces major challenges in respect of the slow growth in the economy, the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. It is therefore imperative that the new-found boost in business confidence and the environment for investment should be encouraged to flourish economically,” CEO Alan Mukoki said.