Pityana 'playing politics': ANC

Johannesburg - Former University of SA vice chancellor Barney Pityana is “playing politics” by talking about a letter he sent President Jacob Zuma asking him to resign, the ANC said on Monday.

“He (Pityana) is not objective. He was part of those who founded Cope (the Congress of the People),” African National Congress spokesman Keith Khoza said.

Prof Barney Pityana during a press briefing in Unisa. Picture: Phill Magakoe. Credit: INLSA

“He claims to have written a letter to the president, but has not engaged with the presidency. He is playing politics by running to the media.”

Khoza said issues raised by Pityana were “not clear”.

“We don't take it [the letter] seriously. It is a point-scoring exercise to draw attention to himself and remain relevant.”

Pityana wrote in the Sunday Independent that he addressed a letter to Zuma asking him to resign.

“My... motivation for taking this step is the recognition that we have to pull back from the precipice - or to coin a phrase, from this 'moral cliff' - where any sense of public good or virtue, loyalty or restraint are absent, and the moral sensitivity of the nation is in paralysis,” he wrote in the opinion piece.

“In other words, the absence of a moral basis for human conduct - especially in public life - is totally lacking and the victims will be the poor and the powerless.”

He also criticised the “Machiavellian manner” in which Zuma had “wormed into the leadership of the ANC” at its national conference in Polokwane in 2007.

“As South Africans we deserve better than we are receiving. Clearly the president and his party lack motivation, skills and ideas to transform this country into the haven of opportunity and prosperity that 1994 promised,” Pityana wrote.

“My letter is intended for South Africans to have a debate about our government, to determine the competencies and quality of leadership, and to envision a new future that the ANC is clearly incapable of providing.

“The call to the president to resign is serious, urgent and timely.”