Picture: Getrude Makhafola/ANA
Johannesburg - Veterans of South Africa's National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday urged the governing party to fire President Jacob Zuma, whom they accused of having "crossed a new line" following the highly criticised Cabinet reshuffle.

"Among the decisions we took, was that in view of the crisis facing the organisation, we are of the view that the need for the ANC to recall the President is long overdue," Murphy Morobe told reporters in Johannesburg after a meeting earlier.

The former Robben Island inmate said the ANC was now "in dire straits and in deep crisis".

The more than 100 veterans and stalwarts, who included Sheryl Carolus, Gertrude Shope, Frank Chikane, Siphiwe Nyanda, Ben Turok and Andrew Mlangeni, said they were pained by last week's Cabinet reshuffle and what transpired at the funeral of Ahmed Kathrada.

Carolus said Zuma "has crossed a new line" and that the level of the crisis in the governing party was laid bare when Zuma could not be at Kathrada's funeral last week. He was barred by the family from attending. Zuma, she said, was the first president in the democratic dispensation who failed to effect a reshuffle without consulting the ANC's highest elected office bearers.

"No leader makes such decisions alone...he consulted somewhere. No president in the ANC has done this, he acts like he is a law unto himself and that he is fully entitled to defy the organisation," said Carolus.

She said Zuma has "not even bothered" to pick up the phone and call Kathrada's widow, Barbara Hogan, to convey his condolences. Mary Metcalfe said the ANC should not wait for the motion of no confidence in Parliament "but act and do the right thing now".

"The ANC integrity commission has requested the president to resign, our two alliances, the SACP and Cosatu have asked that he resign...our point is the the ANC must do the right thing. This matter should not even have to reach vote processes in Parliament," she said.

The veterans penned a document titled 'For the Sake of The Future' in which they decried the state of the ANC and the country.

The veterans pointed out through the document the inability of the ANC to act against "corruption, nepotism, factionalism, arrogance and election slates in the ANC and its alliance partners”.