Duarte: South Africa wouldn’t want Zuma to be embarrassed

Duarte said the submissions Zuma made to the NWC would be presented to the NEC on Wednesday and that the decision taken by that structure would be final. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

Duarte said the submissions Zuma made to the NWC would be presented to the NEC on Wednesday and that the decision taken by that structure would be final. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

As the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) prepares to convene an urgent meeting to discuss President Jacob Zuma’s future, the party insists that it will not act in a manner that will bring embarrassment to the head of state.

In a media briefing on Tuesday morning, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte made it clear that Zuma’s dignity was still a central concern amid attempts from all corners to have him removed.

“Our most important consideration is that we don’t believe South Africa should wish for us to embarrass the president of the country in any way whatsoever. That has been and is the intention of the opposition,” Duarte said.

READ MORE: Zuma is defiant in the face of a looming removal

Since Sunday evening party officials have attempted to persuade Zuma to step down, citing concerns about the impact his continued stay will have on the ANC’s 2019 electoral ambitions.

On Sunday, a defiant Zuma reportedly snubbed a proposal by national office bearers for him to vacate office claiming he was still loved by South Africans and had done nothing wrong.

Now, following an urgent meeting of the national working committee on Monday (NWC), the NEC will meet to discuss a possible recall.

Duarte said the submissions Zuma made to the NWC would be presented to the NEC on Wednesday and that the decision taken by that structure would be final.

“We will take into consideration everything that was said to us. It will be reported very accurately as it was last night in the NWC and the response he [Zuma] gave us will be discussed and the NEC will be able to express its views on that response,” she said.

“What is material now is how the ANC itself will respond to the issues that have been raised in our national working committee meeting with President Zuma. The response to that is what will determine the way forward”.

Meanwhile opposition parties are hard at work to secure a postponement of the State of the Nation (Sona) address scheduled for Thursday, which they say should not be delivered by Zuma.

The Mail & Guardian understands that the NWC has also instructed the party to propose a postponement of ANC Sona until Zuma has exited office. Party president Cyril Ramaphosa and secretary general Ace Magashule are expected to inform him of the NWC decision today.

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