​Zuma should resign, says Nqakula

Charles Nqakula. (James Oatwayi)

Charles Nqakula. (James Oatwayi)

Former Cabinet minister Charles Nqakula says the road to correcting the ANC’s mistakes should start with removing President Jacob Zuma as head of state after the party’s elective conference in December.

In his book, The People’s War, Nqakula, who chairs the joint standing committee on intelligence, describes Zuma as the “weakest link” in the party.

A former journalist turned politician, Nqakula takes aim at the ANC leadership collective for failing to provide leadership.

“The masses must see and be convinced that the new ANC president has what it takes to lead the whole country after the 2019 elections … To that extent, Zuma should resign his presidency of the country soon after the ANC has chosen its leaders,” Nqakula says in his book.

His criticism of the ANC’s national executive committee is scathing.

“The current captain and crew of the ANC Titanic do not know how to steer the ship away from the iceberg in its path. They cannot get rid of the corruption in the ranks of the movement, nor deal with the negative tendencies that have sown disunity.

“They have been immobilised by their own culpability for the wrongs that have become almost second nature at every level of leadership.

“Their [current ANC leaders] problem is their inability to stop the rot and kick out the perpetrators,” Nqakula writes.

The top six leaders of the party are “a house divided” by the pending December conference, which has “sharpened their differences and hardened the divisions. At the centre of the problem is the fact that they have different interests that the election outcome will affect”.

At his book launch in Johannes­burg last week, Nqakula said an urgent national consultative conference was needed in the ANC. Although he does not see himself as aligned to the 101 veterans who wrote to the ANC calling for the conference to be held, Nqakula said the practice of consulting experienced and senior members is a well-established party tradition.

“I’ve learnt some people don’t like this depiction: consultative. But you need a gathering of some of the people of the ANC who have different experiences in order for those people to say, in a situation like this, how do we move forward.

“Why is it difficult to get together people and say let’s all find a way in which we can address these difficulties … What is wrong with that?” Nqakula said.

The former diplomat said the ANC needs a programme of action that clearly outlines how to resolve the crisis in which the party finds itself.

He told the Mail & Guardian that the ANC leadership has admitted that an erosion of the branch structures is taking place, but he criticised the leaders for failing to chart a road map out of the crisis.

“I have not sat in any meeting where we have been told exactly how we are going to resolve the issues which the leadership has identified,” he said.

The People’s War (published by the Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust and Real African Publishers) details Nqakula’s life in exile during the apartheid era and his time in government as a minister, as adviser to the president and as South African ambassador. It also gives glimpses into his relationship with his wife, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. 

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