ANC recalls Mbeki

Time of article published Sep 20, 2008

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The ANC national executive committee has recalled President Thabo Mbeki from office, the party's secretary-general said on Saturday.

"The ANC has decided to recall the president of the republic before his term of office expires. Our decision has been communicated to him," said Gwede Mantashe who was addressing the media at the Esselen Park conference centre in Kempton Park on the East Rand.

Mantashe said that Mbeki's reaction to the news was "normal".

"He didn't display shock or any depression. He welcomed the news and agreed that he is going to participate in the parliamentary process. If I said he was excited I would be exaggerating."

Presidency spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said Mbeki had accepted the decision as indicated by Mantashe.

Mantashe said the decision was taken "as an effort to heal and unite the African National Congress".

He said the decision was a political way to deal with the implications of Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson's ruling that Mbeki may have been involved in a political conspiracy against ruling party leader Jacob Zuma.

"The biggest worry of the ANC had been the question of a reversal of the closure of the chapter that the Nicholson judgment seemed to have promised."

The National Prosecuting Authority's decision to appeal the judgment had become a worry, said Mantashe.

"If pursued it will continue to be a point of division for the ANC."

When asked whether a vote had been taken to reach the decision, Mantashe said: "We discussed until we reached a consensus".

When asked what the reaction would be if other cabinet ministers were to resign, Mantashe said they were considered "on the one hand, deployees who had mutual respect and commitment to the ANC, but on the other hand they were also individuals".

"In the coming days the president of the ANC will meet with ANC deployees in government to assure them that the ANC would wish for them to remain in government...(but) if that individual opts out of the movement, we cannot chain them to the process. we will respect their decisions."

Earlier on Saturday, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka's spokesperson Denzel Taylor said that Mlambo-Ngcuka would hand in her resignation depending on whether Mbeki hands in his resignation.

"I can confirm that the deputy president will resign if the President is asked to step down and resigns accordingly," Taylor said.

"She was appointed by the President and has served him loyally. She feels that it is the right thing to do."

Mantashe said that the process following the decision to recall Mbeki was now out of the ANC's hands.

"It is now up to Parliament to work out a formula to implement the decision.

"We are quite patient for Parliament to develop a system."

ANC deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise said Mbeki "would now do whatever he wants to do".

"He does have a responsibility to our neighbours which he will conclude," she said.

Mantashe added that the decision was not a punishment.

"Mbeki will be given space to participate in activities," he said. - Sapa

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