/ 10 February 2018

Trust new ANC leadership – Mapisa-Nqakula on Zuma exit

Economic growth.
Economic growth.

Defence Minister and ANC NEC member Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has told ANC supporters that they need to trust the party’s new leadership on the current anxiety over the future of President Jacob Zuma.

Mapisa-Nqakula and Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane embarked on a door-to-door rally in Philippi on Saturday, to canvass supporters ahead of a #Mandela100 rally on Sunday in Cape Town to be addressed by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The campaign is amid what is seen as a week-long game of brinkmanship between Ramaphosa and Zuma, following the postponement of the State of the Nation Address.

Speaking to News24, Mapisa-Nqakula said the NEC did not know any more than the public did on the ongoing talks between the two, confirmed by Ramaphosa as being “fruitful and constructive” on Tuesday.

She could also not say when they expected to hear any official decision being communicated.

“I don’t know. We leave whatever [decisions] to the top 6 of the organisation. I am just doing my work now on talking to our people that voted us into the NEC and also into Parliament.”

When asked how she is reassuring those ANC supporters she was visiting, she said citizens needed to rally behind the efforts of the party’s new leadership.

“We’ve been to conference. The people have spoken. People know what they want, and they put together a new leadership that is going to unite the organisation, and they should rally behind that leadership,” she said.

Amid such uncertainty, the message was now “unity of the movement”, whichever way things went.

“People must prepare for the national election in 2019. The ANC has a programme, and it has been endorsed by South Africans. We want a better life for South Africans.

“Therefore, time must start now. We don’t have much time [until 2019]. Councillors must work hard to ensure we meet our people, and go down to the ground to understand their challenges.”

‘Responsibility of the ANC’

Mapisa-Nqakula was curt when it came to questions around Cabinet and whether her colleagues had discussed what a change in power would mean for Cabinet.

“Why should Cabinet discuss these issues? It is the responsibility of the ANC to discuss issues of leadership, it is not a Cabinet responsibility.

“Cabinet has met, committees have met and all we’re focused on is reports that focus on Cabinet.”

The NEC, which is the highest decision-making body in the party, was due to take a final decision on Zuma’s future on Wednesday, but Ramaphosa dramatically cancelled the NEC meeting this week after what he called a “constructive and fruitful” meeting with Zuma on Tuesday.

Zuma’s wife Tobeka Madiba-Zuma however fanned the flames of uncertainty on Friday when she posted to Instagram that “all hell was about to break loose“.

Zuma and Ramaphosa will reportedly “conclude” their discussion on Zuma’s exit as head of state in less than 48-hours, after which the outcome will be announced to the nation, News24 has reliably been told. – News24