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Zuma's backers ready to defend him as NEC meets

Politics
Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma’s backers stand ready to defend him from any attempts to remove him when the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meets from Friday.

Zuma is under mounting pressure to step down following a series of reports into the controversial state capture and calls from within the tripartite alliance and outside.

On Thursday the ANC stalwarts, who have warned that the party was dying, wrote a letter to the NEC in their last-ditch attempt to convince the party’s structure to recall Zuma.

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President Zuma is under mounting pressure to step down following a series of reports into the controversial state capture and calls from within the tripartite alliance and outside. Picture: AP Photo/Khothatso Mokone

This took place as yet another report was released on Thursday, this time by academics, warning against corruption in Zuma’s administration that amounted to a silent coup.

ANC veteran Murphy Morobe told The Star their letter gives a full account of the six months they have been involved in the process to save the ANC.

“We have a sense that some of the issues we have been dealing with have not reached the NEC,” said Morobe.

“Given the seriousness of this capture of the state by our own leaders within the ANC, we, as the veterans and stalwarts of the movement, call on the NEC, as it meets this weekend, to show leadership to our members, supporters and the nation, and exercise its executive power in terms of the ANC constitution to remove from government all those who are party to this project of state capture. In particular, the ANC should seriously consider recalling the president as head of state and of government,” the letter says.

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE

On Thursday former president Kgalema Motlanthe also lashed out at morally unjust leadership, saying 23 years after democracy, the post-colonial experience had been “tainted and morally compromised leadership, corruption, lack of ethics and therefore poor governance”.

He made the remarks during the launch of the South African chapter of Oxfam at Constitution Hill in Joburg.

“All these have not only compromised the future of millions of poor, working-class, peasant and young Africans, but have also, by so doing, betrayed the noble vision nurtured over decades if not centuries of struggle for human freedom.”

Earlier this week the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it had decided to bar Zuma from speaking at its events.

Some leaders of Cosatu felt that allowing Zuma to speak was "inconsistent with the call for him to step down", said Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Alliance partners Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP) have publicly called on Zuma to resign, citing his leadership style and scandals such as Nkandla and rampant corruption, cronyism and factionalism burdening the governing party.

Meanwhile the report by the team of academics, titled “Betrayal of the Promise: How South Africa is Being Stolen”, warned against state capture, saying it was a silent coup.

The project was an academic research partnership between leading researchers including Professor Mzukisi Qobo, Professor Mark Swilling from Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Complex Systems in Transition and Professor Ivor Chipkin from Wits University’s Public Affairs Research Institute.

The report contains allegations of how Zuma and senior government officials “have colluded with a shadow network of corrupt brokers”.

The report also decries the manner in which the power elite pursued its own interests at the expense of South African society, “in particular the poorest people who will suffer first and most from the consequences of what is in reality a de facto silent coup”.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

The report comes hot on the heels of the Unburdening Report released by the SA Council of Churches this week, which warned that the country was on the brink of becoming a mafia state as a result of state capture.

But Zuma’s backers believe that any attempts to remove him from power would be unconstitutional and would fail to gain traction among NEC members.

The Star understands there were plans for another motion of no confidence to be tabled against Zuma at the meeting.

This is against the backdrop of the controversy around Brian Molefe’s redeployment as Eskom chief executive.

Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, has made criticism of state capture central to his campaign to replace the president in December.

The NEC meeting, happening on the eve of the policy conference, will also give an indication on whether Zuma still has a stranglehold on power or has been significantly weakened.

Cosatu’s decision to bar him from speaking at its events has added to his woes.

Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe said any attempts to remove Zuma would be defeated.“Let the motion against the president come. We are ready for it! If they raise it, they must put facts on the table, but I don’t think it will fly.”

A staunch Zuma supporter, Maphatsoe said it would be unconstitutional for the NEC to recall Zuma as president, adding: “This issue is totally different from (former president) Thabo Mbeki as he was no longer ANC president when he was recalled.”

He said calls for Zuma to step down had been discussed at length by the NEC and the party’s branches, and the matter was considered closed.

“If you remove Zuma you are violating the constitution of the ANC. The branches of the ANC still have confidence in Zuma. He must finish his term in December,” said Maphatsoe.

ANC Youth League spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize berated members who were “falling into the trap” of calling on Zuma to step down, saying they were behaving like opposition parties in Parliament.

He said attempts to remove the president would not succeed and that the party’s youth league supported Zuma to finish his terms as ANC leader in December and as president in 2019.

The ANC Women’s League couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Star

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