/ 1 April 2016

Zuma will stay in office – ANC

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe speaks on the NEC and why they didn't discuss the State of Capture report yesterday.
After the release of the names, Semenya’s legal team approached the CAS and asked for permission to release its own list of experts. (Michael Dodge/Getty)

There was no disagreement among the ANC’s top six during the meeting the officials had today over whether President Jacob Zuma should stay in office, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said at a press conference on Friday night.

When asked by the Mail & Guardian whether there was any dispute regarding Zuma’s position as president, Mantashe interjected and immediately answered the question, saying “there was unanimity”. 

He said the tweets by Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa led a charge for Zuma to resign were misleading.

Mantashe also slammed those calling on the party to sack Zuma, saying these people will be calling for the ANC to “tear ourselves apart”. 

Mantashe said the ANC would be holding an open national working committee meeting on Monday, which national executive committee members could also attend. 

The caucus is set to meet on Tuesday, after which the ANC was willing to meet with various sectors of society. 

“The ANC extends an invitation to any sector of society, which wishes to engage the ANC on this or any other matter” he said. “The ANC further appeals to all members and structures of the ANC, our alliance and sectors of society interested in finding a solution to the challenges facing society to engage us rather than standing at a distance and shouting at each other.” 

He said the ANC accepted Zuma’s apology for not complying with the public protector’s report on the non-security spending at Nkandla, but said they believed Zuma didn’t act in bad faith.  

Zuma addressed the nation on SABC, where he apologised and said he had not “knowingly or deliberately” violated the Constitution.

“The president humbled himself and apologised to the nation,”  Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.

“The president has assured the ANC he will adhere to the judgment and implement all 11 orders.”

Mantashe was in bullish mood, greeting reporters in various languages when he arrived, and joking as usual about which television broadcasters were present.

Constitutional Court ruling

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court ruled that the president should adhere to the remedial actions of the public protector and pay back taxpayers’ money which was used for non-security upgrades worth millions at his Nkandla home. 

It found that Zuma’s failure to comply with Thuli Madonsela’s report was inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid. 

Madonsela found in her report, Secure in Comfort, released in March 2014, that Zuma had unduly benefited from some of the upgrades. She recommended that he repay a reasonable portion of the R246m spent on the upgrades and that the ministers involved in the project be reprimanded. 

The court further ruled that the National Assembly had violated the Constitution by ignoring the public protector’s report.  

Since the ruling, opposition parties have called for Zuma to step down.  

Mantashe on Friday said the ANC’s top six officials – the president, deputy president, secretary general, deputy secretary general, treasurer and chairperson – had held a meeting after the judgment. 

He said the Constitutional Court’s judgment was testament to the fact that the Constitution remained the anchor of the nation. 

Mantashe said the the ANC would hold an extended national working committee meeting on Monday and officials would be meeting with the party’s Parliamentary caucus on Tuesday. – Additional reporting by News24