Johannesburg - The African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee rejected a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.

“On the call for the President to consider stepping down, the NEC took time to elaborate on what we have previously identified as a negative narrative directed towards the President,” Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.

“The NEC did not support the call for the President to step down. The motion was debated robustly…sometimes it was very difficult for members during the debate. The NEC has decided it was better to direct all the energies to unite the movement.”

Mantashe said the “negative narrative” towards Zuma had gained momentum after the August local government elections, with the long-running Nkandla saga and former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report being thrown around by Zuma’s detractors.

He added that every NEC member was allowed to raise their concerns, which would be attended to and not “swept under the carpet”.

Beleaguered Zuma, who leads a deeply divided Cabinet team and ruling party, continued with his official duties after emerging from a bruising NEC meeting, where several ministers threatened his party leadership by tabling a motion of no confidence in him.

The meeting was extended to Monday to allow the 86 NEC members to air their views on the motion tabled by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.

However, Zuma and his supporters put up a fight to ensure that the motion did not succeed.

Mantashe said no voting took place as the NEC does not vote on matters, but “engages robustly” to arrive at a consensus. No NEC member would be treated differently because of what they raised, he added.

African News Agency