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‘A special, emotional and sad moment’

Essop Pahad, former minister in the presidency
”For a number of us it is a special and emotional and sad moment now that we are leaving. I did not agree with the decision, it was profoundly unjust. I feel aggrieved by the decision that the NEC took, so I couldn’t continue to serve as a Cabinet member or as a member of Parliament. In my view it could have been dealt with differently.

”I’m looking for a job from tomorrow.

”Cabinet has taken a decision to appeal the parts of the judgement that infer that we interfered with the work of the NPA. It is our view that it is necessary for us to appeal, otherwise the court records will forever say there was Cabinet interference with the NPA. It is in the interest of Cabinet to clear its name, this is a serious matter. Once the appeal is lodged, all legal processes will take place. We need to remain open to be called to court if need be, but for now it is in the hands of the lawyers.”

On whether he would leave for a new party: ”It is very difficult to move away from your own life. The ANC has been our life, even more so than our wives. The ANC has been our mother and our father.

”At the moment I have no intention [of leaving the ANC] but will see what takes place. I saw the president, he is looking fine but he is extremely disappointed at the turn of events. All of us feel aggrieved and disappointed at the NEC decision.”

Mosiuoa Lekota, former defence minister
”My position is that, without any regard to our rights, the national executive committee of the ANC accepted a judgement by Judge Chris Nicholson in which he said we as Cabinet violated our oath of office.

”Instead of meeting with us to discuss it, they endorsed the judgement and on that basis resolved to act as they did [and recall former president Thabo Mbeki].

”Once the NEC endorses that judgement we are disqualified from sitting in any legislatures or Parliament and representing people because this amounts to a crime, and if you were involved in a crime you can’t sit and represent people. There is no way we can sit in the house in good faith when we have allegedly broken our oath of office. The ANC should have recalled all of us. There is no way the NEC could do that [recall Mbeki] and not accept the consequences of that.”

On whether they are defying Mbeki who asked them to stay on in Cabinet: ”It is not a question of what the president says, we are all adults. I don’t need Thabo Mbeki to think for me and I don’t need Jacob Zuma to think for me.

”How can I look people in the face [after this judgedment and decision by the NEC]? This affects our families and the communities we live in. I can’t represent an organisation that has taken the decision that I broke my oath of office. I am not leaving the ANC, I’m dealing with this matter through the organisation.”

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