Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma says there is no reason why ANC stalwart Pallo Jordan should resign from the party – or its powerful national executive committee.
The former cabinet minister resigned his seat in Parliament and his seat on the party’s NEC on Monday night – 10 days after being outed by the Sunday Times for lying about his academic qualifications.
Jordan, who had styled himself as “Dr” Jordan in his official CV throughout his exile and afterwards, was found to have no university degree.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe announced Jordan’s resignation on Monday night, saying the party had received a detailed explanation from him on his false qualifications, as well as his written intention to leave public and political life.
Mantashe said the party had accepted Jordan’s resignation from Parliament, but referred his bid to quit the ANC and its NEC to its “structures”.
In a statement, Mantashe said: “A man of comrade Pallo Jordan’s intellect does not need to perpetuate deceit; he must be given time to deal with his guilt. As the ANC, we have accepted his public apology; to apologise was not an action of the faint-hearted.”
Speaking to The Star on a range of issues at his official Pretoria residence, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, on Tuesday, Zuma said there wasn’t much more Jordan could have done. “He said, ‘Fine, comrades, I made a mistake, I said what I was not’.
“Pallo has himself helped because he says he made a wrong choice. He did the wrong thing and he has apologised. I don’t think you can do anything more.”
Resigning from Parliament was critical, Zuma said, because of the nature of the House. “It was the honourable thing to do.”
But Zuma wasn’t convinced that Jordan should resign his seat on the NEC.
“You’re not a member of the NEC because you’re a doctor or something. You are there because you are elected by the people on the basis of what you do. You are not in the ANC because you produce papers, you are in the ANC because you believe in its policies.”
Jordan, he said, was resigning on principle, not because he disagreed with the party or was joining another one.
Zuma said no further action needed to be taken.
“Pallo Jordan has a contribution to make; he has made a contribution. I think this matter can be dealt with, and the ANC is interacting with comrade Pallo Jordan.
“Merely to resign from the ANC is not the right thing. I can understand his saying ‘Let me punish myself and be out of the ANC’, but even that is a matter in which he can still come back.”
* In The Star tomorrow: Read what Zuma has to say on service delivery protests, Marikana and the need to ensure South Africa remains a constitutional democracy at all costs.