/ 27 November 2016

Zuma to launch fight back as ANC NEC present motion for the president to step down

In this week's Mail & Guardian
In this week's Mail & Guardian

President Zuma is preparing to sideline those ANC members who oppose him in a cabinet re-shuffle. The president has also begun the process of charging former public protector Thuli Madonsela. The fight back comes as members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) reportedly tabled a motion for Zuma to step down.

Zuma loyalists have been sent into a panic, City Press newspaper reported on Sunday, after Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom tabled a motion for the president to step down in the ANC NEC meeting on Saturday. It is unclear if or when a vote will take place for Zuma to be reomved.

“Late last [Saturday] night, the meeting had been adjourned with the discussion around a vote deferred to today, the last day of the NEC sitting,” City Press reported.

Throughout the year, the ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has said that the issue of recalling the president was never discussed in NEC meetings, despite pressure from civil society and ANC stalwarts.

The public protector’s State of Capture report, City Press says, has given Zuma’s critics a reason to ask for the president to step down.

Criminal charges against Madonsela

Zuma’s fight to discredit the public protector’s report into his relationship with the Guptas and the family’s undue benefits from state resources as a result of the friendship has already begun.

Madonsela released audio recordings of her interview with President Zuma to news channel eNCA, but the presidency said she did not have permission from the current public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to do so.

The Sunday Times newspaper reports that on November 11, Mkhwebane opened a case with the police, alleging that Madonsela had contavened the Public Protector Act. The newspaper said that Mkhwebane confirmed she had laid charges after receiving complaints from Zuma, the national assembly, and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.

“A case has been opened with the Brooklyn police station because there is an investigation that needs to happen whether the leakage happened in violation of section 7(2) of the Public Protector Act because any information which is relevant to the investigation can only be made public with the permission of the public protector,” Mkhwebane said to the Sunday Times.

Zuma also announced on Friday that he would take the state capture report under judicial review.

Charges are said to be part of Zuma’s campaign to retaliate against Madonsela after her reports on Nkandla and the state capture have led to increased calls for Zuma to step down

Cabinet re-shuffle to oust Zuma critics

Zuma has, according to the Sunday Times, spoken to provincial ANC leaders about a cabinet reshuffle and the removal of Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha and the Eastern Cape’s Phumulo Masualle.

The Sunday Times says that with a possible re-shuffle looming, the presidency has been warned to avoid the embarassment that they incurred when Des Van Rooyen was appointed finance minister. The presidency will now have to appoint people who are well-known and experienced in the re-shuffle.

City Press meanwhile, has reported that the cabinet re-shuffle would be a means to force Zuma naysayers out of their positions.

The ANC NEC is set to meet again this week to discuss the party’s leadership succession.