The African National Congress’s (ANC) decision to recall president Thabo Mbeki was unjust, outgoing Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad said on Wednesday.
”I personally do not agree with the decision of the NEC [national executive committee]. I think the decision was profoundly unjust,” Pahad told journalists following the final Cabinet briefing under Mbeki’s administration.
He said that the NEC could have dealt with the matter in another way.
He described the meeting as emotional, with ministers giving account of their tenure under Mbeki.
On whether there was a split within the party following Mbeki’s resignation on Sunday, Pahad said he had no knowledge of this.
”There is no discussion of any kind of split anywhere. There is no single mention of that. I am not aware of any discussion to create a split within the ANC,” he said.
He indicated, however, that Mbeki would be appealing inferences made by Judge Chris Nicholson that the Cabinet had interfered in judicial matters.
”It is our view that it is very necessary to appeal because any false record that indicates Cabinet had interfered with the work of the public prosecutor would be unconstitutional and wrong,” he said.
The appeal would be limited only to inferences about the involvement of the president as well as the Cabinet as a whole in interfering with the work of the public prosecutor.
Touching on resignations, Pahad said he did not see a problem with ministers resigning.
”Individual ministers resigned in their individual capacity.”
He added: ”Those of us who resigned, I’m told, our resignations take effect as from one minute past midnight.”
On whether other ministers had indicated whether they would resign, Pahad said he was not aware of any other minister resigning, but that there could have been other resignations.
”There might have been one or two who resigned today [Wednesday],” he said.
On whether there would ”drastic” policy changes with the new leadership, Pahad said: ”I am not aware of any resolution from Polokwane that suggested fundamental departure from present policies,” he said.
Pahad did not know if Mbeki would be present at Parliament.
”I don’t know what his diary says,” he said.
On what he would be doing with his time following his resignation, Pahad said: ”As of tomorrow [Thursday] I’ll look for a new job.”
Meanwhile, ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe is expected to be elected as South Africa’s new president on Thursday.
Members of the National Assembly will meet in the chamber at 11am to initiate the proceedings.
The new president is expected to be inducted on Thursday, and will also announce the names of the new deputy president and Cabinet ministers.
On Wednesday evening, the GCIS (Government Communication and Information System) announced that president Thabo Mbeki’s tenure expired at midnight. Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri is acting president on Thursday until the new president has been sworn in. — Sapa