‘Disastrous power vacuum’ if Zuma is removed
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Johannesburg - A power vacuum at the top of the ANC would plunge the party into chaos, and with it the country, if President Jacob Zuma was removed, warned two political analysts and a member of the ANC’s national executive committee.
As the country reels from the impact of the Gupta email leaks this week, and with yet another vote of no confidence pending for Parliament, constitutional law expert Shadrack Gutto said unseating the president before the ANC’s December conference would unleash forces that no one may be able to contain.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo agreed. “If he is removed those aligned to him will revolt, and if he is removed internally we could see the ANC splinter. Remember, he still enjoys support on the ground.”
Gutto said removing Zuma would mean the cabinet, including deputy ministers, would have to resign.
“Added to this is that those who are ‘ready to die for Zuma’ would create chaos, which would be very sad for the country. His recall could also ignite tribal conflict because some have supported him based on tribal loyalties,” he said.
Both analysts said a new ANC president would deliver the party’s annual January 8 birthday celebration statement, in keeping with historic tradition after the December ANC conference. Zuma has already indicated he would step down.
The NEC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the battle for the ANC presidency was a two-horse race.
The new ANC president – and by implication the new president of the country – would be decided at the party conference with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former AU chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma the main contenders.
The party’s 4 500 delegates would make that decision – not a vote of no confidence in Parliament.
However, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe and Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu are also poised to put their names forward to lead the ANC.
The NEC member said whoever emerged victorious would have to unite “the glaringly divided” ANC.
“My advice to whoever wins between Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma is to use the January 8 statement to unite our organisation.
“I can tell you now that things will be messy after the conference.
“Even now, comrades have turned against each other. Can you imagine what will happen when someone loses in December?”
The head of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, who also sits on the NEC, said Zuma was going nowhere and the coming vote of no confidence in Parliament would be shrugged off.
“The ANC decided members would vote for the president to remain as head of the country.
“No member will deviate from that.”