Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma told African National Congress (ANC) leaders the governing party will lose the 2019 elections if he steps down, said Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.
“We warned ANC about Zuma. They called us reckless, anarchists... yesterday he showed them the door,” Malema told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.
“This is what Zuma said to his closest allies... he said they can fire me... but they’re going to lose elections. They will lose KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng... the Zulus in KwaZulu-Natal and in Gauteng will be offended... I am not going anywhere.”
The governing party's efforts to remove beleaguered Zuma failed on Sunday night during a meeting at the presidential residence in Pretoria.
The Top Six officials were mandated by the national executive commission to tell Zuma to resign, preferably before the upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.
Zuma told the new party leaders that he has performed his duties and done everything he was requested to do as state president, Malema said.
“He said he did everything he was told to do - paid back the money [for Nkandla security upgrades]...and that if they came to a conclusion that he is a problem...then they should fire him.”
Zuma's prolonged stay at the Union Buildings is seen by some as detrimental to uniting the party ahead of the crucial 2019 general elections. Cracks began to show in the Top Six leadership as secretary general Ace Magashule, a staunch Zuma supporter, said over the weekend that Zuma will deliver the SONA. This flew in the face of party treasurer Paul Mashatile insisting that Zuma should resign.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has scheduled a motion of no confidence debate, sought by the EFF, for February 22, soon after the Sona.
However, Malema says the motion will be debated before the Sona.
“We are considering legal action to interdict Zuma from delivering the Sona. We will tell the court that his party doesn’t want him, they say he must go so why should he speak?” he asked.
“We cannot waste R4 million on a [SONA] speech that no one will listen to..who will listen to Zuma? His is leaving and that is inevitable.”
The Democratic Alliance was unsuccessful in its bid to have the SONA postponed. In her response to the DA’s request, Mbete said the president, as head of state, had exercised powers vested in him in terms of section 84 of the Constitution and National Assembly rules to call on parliament to convene for the Sona.
African News Agency/ANA