CAPE TOWN - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Wednesday slammed President Jacob Zuma's televised response to his recall from office as "delusional".
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday affirmed an earlier decision to recall Zuma as head of state and said a motion of no confidence vote would take place in Parliament on Thursday if Zuma did not step down voluntarily.
Zuma then delivered a televised address in which he said the ANC had no cause to remove him from office and claimed that the party had reneged on an agreement that he would serve another three months as a notice period before handing over to his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.
Sanco though expressed disappointment with Zuma’s response, with national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu saying: "President Zuma has embarked on a path that will ultimately humiliate him and severely tarnish his image. The unfortunate result is that he will without doubt blame the newly elected leadership of the ANC for the challenge he has opted to put out in the public domain.
Mahlangu said that by defying his organisation, Zuma is leaving the ANC no option but to vote for and or initiate a motion of no confidence against him to remove him as head of state.
"Zuma’s behaviour suggest that the ANC is dealing with someone who has always thought that he is bigger than the ANC and therefore untouchable. The strategy of playing the victim will this time around not help him because he has either misread the public mood out there or has not bought into what the organisational renewal process is going to demand of deployees and cadreship of the movement," he said.
He said that a resignation would have been a dignified exit for the leader who had enjoyed respect across the revolutionary alliance and within the ANC and its fraternal structures.
Mahlangu appealed to Zuma to reconsider his decision and show selflessness, including maturity expected of veterans as well as cadres of his calibre.
"He should not miss the opportunity to put South Africa, including the future of the ANC, before his own interest," he added.
Mahlangu said Zuma's legacy will be severely dented if there is consistency between his reaction and with the reckless statement made by his wife and those attributed to people perceived to be close to him who had suggested that civil war might follow if the decision to recall him is implemented.
"His view that the new ANC leadership is ‘plunging the country into a deeper crisis’ is in our view synonymous to those threats," he said.
Earlier, Zuma repeated at several turns that "there is no problem", and that he did not understand why the members of the ANC were bent on removing him.
Zuma said he had agreed to resign, but only after a three-month notice period to ensure a smooth transfer of power and strengthen the party before it contests national elections in 2019 and to introduce Ramaphosa to the African Union and the BRICS group of nations. He said this was vital to ensure that other heads of state were prepared to work with Ramaphosa.
"To also remove the public perception out there that Zuma is being elbowed out so that they will work with you because some of them are my colleagues and friends."
He added that several fellow African leaders had cautioned Ramaphosa not to force him out of office.
"More than one president in Africa met him and made that kind of remarks."
Asked if he was resigning, Zuma said the party was rushing ahead with a resolution and he did not understand the haste. But he conceded that he would have to bow to the majority if the motion of no confidence in Parliament went against him.
"If Parliament says we do not want you, why should there be a problem, I will be out."
But he warned that "some of my colleagues will not be happy" about his forced departure and that they party may end of up regretting it.
African News Agency/ANA