Politics / 29 May 2017, 06:21am / Luyolo Mketane, Siyabonga Mkhwanazi and Staff Writer
Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma has reportedly survived a second vote of no confidence in him at the ANC’s national executive committee meeting on Sunday night.
Extended for a third day, the meeting was still under way late on Sunday night.
The move to remove Zuma from office was seemingly deferred on procedural grounds.
It had not been on the agenda, and the NEC does note vote on issues but reaches consensus.
It was apparently agreed, as a compromise between bitterly divided groups to refer the issue of Zuma’s continued leadership to a committee of 10 members.
By deadline it was not clear who the 10 were.
A source told Independent Media: “It was not decided how the committee would be formed. There was also no finalisation of its composition.”
The motion against Zuma, who will face MPs on Wednesday for the presidency’s budget, was tabled by the ANC’s policy guru, Joel Netshitenzhe, on Saturday.
The move was supported by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and his deputy Joe Phaahla, axed tourism minister Derek Hanekom and NEC member Sue van der Merwe, according to sources.
At an ANC NEC meeting in December Hanekom, since dismissed by Zuma from Cabinet, proposed a motion of no confidence in him, but it was squashed.
Political analyst Protas Madlala said the possible removal of Zuma would have far-reaching implications as it would also see a mass exodus of his backers in Parliament.
“What surprises me is why the president is being asked to step down, whereas Thabo Mbeki was told in no uncertain terms to do so,” said Madlala.
He said the ANC needs to take a similar hard line against Zuma.
Sunday’s meeting took place against the backdrop of the most damning newspaper reports yet against Zuma’s controversial friends, the Guptas, revealing the business family’s influence on the state allegedly through Zuma and his son Duduzane.
They also detailed how the Guptas prepared for Zuma to move his family to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
But Gupta family’s attorney Gert van der Merwe dismissed the reports, which are based on internal emails.
“I invite the newsrooms relying on these documents to disclose them (and the sources from which it was ostensibly obtained) to my client for consideration and comment if possible. Once the documents are studied and verified, my client will be in a position to comment if justified.
“The family deny any wrongdoing or paying any amounts to ministers or the president and reserve its rights,” Van der Merwe said.
Hours after the allegations were made public, ANC stalwart Mathews Phosa, a Zuma critic, reiterated his call for the president to step down.
Phosa, delivering the keynote address at the Peter Mokaba region in Limpopo on Sunday, criticised what he calls “corrupt leaders with broken values, who have lost the moral high ground”, saying they had let the entire country down.
Meanwhile, Zuma has to give reasons on Monday in the Pretoria High Court for his midnight Cabinet reshuffle, one of the reasons his future at the Union Buildings hangs in the balance.