Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s apology to the nation and pledge to pay back the money for non-security features at his Nkandla home is not enough.
This is according to the ANC’s alliance partner the SACP, which this weekend held an urgent meeting of its politburo to discuss the damning judgment delivered earlier this week by the Constitutional Court on the Nkandla scandal.
The SACP described Zuma’s apology and commitment to pay as “important beginnings” and said it laid the ground for “further inquiry”.
Meanwhile ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada on Saturday called on the president to step down.
Kathrada said in a letter addressed to the president that he could no longer remain quiet, given recent developments.
“I am not a political analyst, but I am now driven to ask: “Dear comrade president, don’t you think your continued stay as president will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?”
“And bluntly, if not arrogantly; in the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down?” wrote Kathrada.
On Friday, Zuma went on national television to say he welcomed the judgment and would pay the amount to be determined by the National Treasury and issued an unreserved apology to the nation for how the matter had been handled.
While the ANC welcomed his apology, it also announced it would hold an extended national working committee meeting open to all national executive committee members.
Any serious censure of Zuma is likely to come from the NEC rather than the top six officials who on Friday came out in his defence.
In its last meeting, the NEC took a hard line against the Gupta family, Zuma’s chief benefactors.
In a carefully worded statement, the SACP said it had long believed the Nkandla matter should have been handled differently and more expeditiously.
“The ANC leadership needs to reflect critically on the capacities and motives of a circle of informal presidential courtiers, flatterers, patrons, factionalists and hangers-on.
“It is a circle that, in our view, continuously and prejudicially exposes the presidency.”
The party said it would call an urgent meeting with the ANC and called on the ANC parliamentary caucus not to be defensive in its response to the court judgment, which found Parliament had failed to hold the executive accountable.
“The Concourt judgment correctly found that Parliament had failed to exercise its constitutional responsibility in holding the executive to account in the Nkandla matter
“We call on the ANC parliamentary caucus not to be narrowly defensive in the necessary introspection that must now follow,” the party said.
Independent Media understands the mood at the SACP meeting was angry, as many felt Zuma had ignored advice from within the ANC-led alliance to either pay back the money or take the public protector’s report under judicial review.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe confirmed on Friday the ANC had favoured a judicial review.
The ANC caucus and Parliament’s presiding officers face a rough week as they try to contain the damage done to the institution’s credibility by the Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla.
Parliament’s spokesman Luzuko Jacobs would not say when the presiding officers would meet over the matter.
“The adverse findings should not mean the integrity is weakened,” he said.