/ 20 February 2018

Zuma to party with his Cabinet one last time

(Sumaya Hisham/Reuters)
(Sumaya Hisham/Reuters)

Former president Jacob Zuma will have an opportunity to say his last goodbyes to his Cabinet ministers and their deputies at a specially-planned farewell party for him hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The gathering is being described in Parliament’s corridors as Ramaphosa’s attempt to show Zuma that there are no hard feelings after the latter’s unceremonious departure from office following extensive negotiations.

The private dinner will take place at the Tuynhuys residence in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon. Tuynhuys is Zuma’s former official residence in Cape Town, and has now been taken over by Ramaphosa. The official reason for hosting the dinner is unclear. 

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Tyrone Seale said the event is a “cocktail dinner party” but did not reply to queries about why it was necessitated. 

Meanwhile the ANC said it is not planning its own farewell for Zuma. ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe said this was because Zuma is still a member of the party and will play his own role.

ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile told the M&G that the party’s top six officials had not been invited to the gathering at Tuynhuys.

Ramaphosa and Zuma’s relationship broke down in the run up to the ANC’s national conference, with supporters of the former president claiming that Ramaphosa could be an agent of Western governments.

In the days before being fired, Zuma was also prevented from chairing his final Cabinet meeting, with the gathering postponed as the ANC urgently met to finalise his recall.

In an interview about his rejection of the reasons the ANC gave him to resign, Zuma said he wanted a transition period during which he would allow Ramaphosa to chair Cabinet meetings.

The request for a transition period of three months was rejected by the ANC.

The cocktail party also takes place as sections of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal rebel against the ANC national executive committee’s decision to recall Zuma.

The dinner is scheduled to begin at 5pm.