Faced with the threat of his own party removing him through a no-confidence vote in Parliament along with the opposition, President Jacob Zuma has defied the ANC and refused to resign.
— Mail & Guardian (@mailandguardian) February 14, 2018
In an exclusive live television interview with the SABC, Zuma said that while he had never refused an instruction from the ANC, he “disagreed” with the decision by the party’s national executive committee (NEC) that he should resign as president.
Zuma said that the “narrative” that he was “defying” the ANC was wrong, but that he would not resign as instructed.
Zuma also delivered what appeared to be a veiled threat to the current ANC leadership, saying that they may still “regret” the decision, which he said was “unfair”.
In a lengthy, sometimes rambling interview, Zuma repeatedly stated that he had not been given valid reasons for the decision to recall him by the ANC officials.
“I said to the president and the secretary general my problem is that nobody has provided me with what have I done. There’s nothing that I’ve done wrong. What is the problem? I don’t understand. I have a problem with your approach and your decisions. I don’t think it is fair,” Zuma said.
Zuma said he had told the officials that “if you want to recall, then you recall.” The embattled president, who said he would issue a fuller statement later in the day, said it was “important” for him to inform the public that he felt “this is being done in a manner in which I am being victimised.”
“I did not defy. I never defied. I disagreed with the decision because my feeling is that the decision is not right,” Zuma said.
He said he had provided the ANC officials with a package of proposals for his departure, which he had suggested should take place over six months to allow him to introduce Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to international forums including the African Union, BRICS and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Zuma said had he been furnished with proper reasons, “I don’t think there will be any problem.”
However, the handling of the matter by the party made him feel that “it is the kind of ANC where I begin to feel there is something wrong here.’
“Don’t just say we ask you to resign. I have never been told,” Zuma said. Pushed as to whether he would resign, Zuma said he would not.
“The manner in which this decision was taken I have a problem with. They are taking me to parliament. That’s how I came in. If Parliament says ‘we don’t want you’ I don’t see why that should be a problem,” Zuma said.
He complained that the new ANC leadership was using its authority to implement an agenda to remove him and ensure that he did not deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA). He had discovered this through the grapevine at the December conference.
“It’s just two months from the conference…we are being plunged into a crisis that I’m sure my comrades will regret because some people may not like things. They may feel there is something wrong,” he said.
“If the leadership of the ANC are not careful they might cause a bigger problem. You don’t apply authority that way. I hope they will know how to handle the organisation.”
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement that the party would await Zuma’s fuller statement before responding.