Zuma prepares for showdown with veterans
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma will on Monday face some of his biggest critics when he meets the 101 Veterans of the ANC, who have called for him to step down.
The meeting between the party’s National Working Committee and the ANC veterans was postponed from Friday as Zuma and other top six leaders were deployed across the country and unable to attend.
The meeting was requested by more than 101 ANC veterans concerned about the state of the ANC and the country.
These include the likes of Ahmed Kathrada, Cheryl Carolus, Murphy Morobe, Wally Serote and Andrew Mlangeni, among many others.
Earlier this month the veterans spoke out about their concerns, calling for Zuma to resign and the ANC to hold an early conference to elect new leadership.
Their concerns have, however, been met with resistance from within the ANC, with staunch Zuma backer Kebby Maphatsoe questioning their standing in the ANC.
It was his questioning of their credentials that led to his condemnation by the ANC which described his statement “irresponsible”.
The veterans complained they had been requesting a meeting with Zuma since September.
This led to former president Thabo Mbeki writing to Zuma and urging him to meet and listen to the party’s veterans, who had played a significant role in the liberation struggle.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the NWC would meet early on Monday to prepare for the meeting with the veterans.
“The NWC will first meet early tomorrow (on Monday) to determine its approach to the meeting because it was requested by the veterans.
“The NWC will meet to prepare and decide how it will approach the meeting.
“They will thereafter meet with the veterans and hear them out and they have said there are issue they need to discuss with the leadership,” said Kodwa.
Kodwa confirmed Zuma would attend the meeting.
“The president will definitely attend the meeting, along the rest of the top six leaders as they all sit on the NWC,” said Kodwa.
Some of the ANC veterans have not minced their words about Zuma’s leadership style, and how his personal scandals have affected the ANC's standing and support.
Issues including the party's performance in the recent local government elections and the apparent battles between various arms of government such as the Hawks, the NPA, the SA Revenue Services and the Treasury are expected to feature highly on the agenda.
The explosive State of Capture report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela is also expected to be discussed during the meeting as it has implicated Zuma and several cabinet ministers in improper conduct with the controversial Gupta family.
Fazel Randera, one of the ANC veterans, said they had a preparatory meeting on Thursday where it was agreed that they would present their document, titled “For the Sake of our Future.” He said in the meeting a great number of issues were discussed.
The veterans said the document would assist in promoting a meaningful dialogue and open up a new chapter of honest reflection and renewed commitment to the values embodied in the Constitution and Freedom Charter.
“We will of course go to that meeting with the ANC national working committee on Monday around the document that we preparedâ€¦ and I think that remains our position in the present time,” he said.
“We are not giving any other interviews until after the meeting. We all have high expectations and I think we can say we did not, as the veterans, come out feeling that this was going to be an easy journey.
“We hope that the NWC will give us a good hearing, that we will be able to speak to each other as comrades of old and new, and that we will come out with a position that is best for the organisation.”
Zuma has in recent weeks attacked party veterans for asking him to resign.
The Sunday Independent