Daily News / 12 February 2018, 4:00pm / BONGANI HANS, SIVIWE FEKETHA & MARY JANE MPHAHLELE
Durban - President Jacob Zuma’s family has blamed white people for his political woes and called on him to resist pressure to resign.
Zuma’s nephew, Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma, a senior member of the family, said the ANC national executive committee (NEC) members and society’s call for him to resign was the work of the West, which interfered with the ANC’s affairs with the aim of destroying it, so that “they can do as they please with the country”.
“White people came within us, with the aim of destroying the ANC. If the leadership does not realise this, they (white people) are coming for (Cyril) Ramaphosa,” he said.
And if the president resigned he would be admitting guilt on the allegations made against him, he added.
“If you resign you are saying you have done something wrong. They must make a decision to recall him, since he is deployed by the ANC. I don’t support the idea of him resigning on his own because that would he admitting to (the) charges they’re putting against him,” he said.
Zuma’s family entered the fray regarding his future when one of his wives, Thobeka Madiba-Zuma, used her Instagram to warn his detractors that “things are about to get ugly”, and “don’t fight someone who is not fighting with you”.
However, Zuma’s controversial son, Edward Zuma, lashed out at his stepmother’s comment, describing it as “unfortunate and regrettable”.
Now Ramaphosa’s backers in the ANC are set to knock the final nail into Zuma’s political coffin today.
Talks between Ramaphosa and Zuma on the latter’s departure from the Union Buildings were understood to have collapsed due to the president’s demands.
So angry were Ramaphosa’s supporters that they pushed him to bring forward to today a meeting of the party’s NEC meeting that was scheduled to start on Saturday.
Ramaphosa, in the clearest indication that he and his group of supporters were going for the jugular, assured the party faithful gathered at the historic Grand Parade in Cape Town that Zuma’s future would be “finalised” today at the St George’s Hotel in Irene, outside Pretoria.
This signalled that the party was likely to recall Zuma from office, and if he still refused to leave - which he is constitutionally entitled to do - he would face a motion of no-confidence in Parliament to be tabled by the governing party itself.
Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma said on Sunday that instead of resigning, the president should force the NEC to recall him, and with that decision risk dividing the governing party.
Simphiwe is inkosi of the AmaNxamalala clan in Impendle, outside Pietermaritzburg. Nxamalala is Zuma’s clan name.
“If they force him to leave, they will risk repeating what happened after Thabo Mbeki was recalled. The ANC would be divided, since the president has many supporters,” said Simphiwe.
As a senior member of Isigungu SamaNxamalala (the board of the Zuma clan) and an important member among the decision-makers in the president’s family, Simphiwe insisted that Zuma was a “diligent and innocent president who carried out ANC mandates without corruption”.
“There is no truth that ubaba is corrupt. I trust him. I can only believe (it) if ubaba is accused of having a relationship with another woman, because I know that as a man he loves women. But if they say he is corrupt, there is nothing of that sort,” he said.
Zuma’s refusal to voluntarily step down as the head of state has hardened the attitude of the ANC’s Top Six leadership. One NEC member who is also an MP, said most members in the structure were prepared to back Zuma’s removal.
“This meeting is long overdue and everyone knows what we have to do, especially now that we know that the man has no genuine interest to go.
“The (ANC’s parliamentary) caucus is also prepared to facilitate Zuma’s departure, even though no leader of the ANC wants it to go there, as the opposition will take credit for removing him,” the member said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Another NEC member said demands should be within the law of the country.
“Even if Zuma wants assurances as part of his exit package, they must be legal,” another member said.
Ramaphosa told the audience at Grand Parade that the ANC NEC would finalise the matter in the interests of the country, not an individual.
On Saturday, the ANC officials met to get a progress report from Ramaphosa on his negotiations with Zuma.
It has emerged that some of Zuma’s demands included that the state cover the legal costs of the court cases he faces that are linked to his stay in office, security for his family and more time in office, among others.
Party insiders said this caused a stalemate which has seen Ramaphosa calling for the NEC meeting on Monday.