Senior members of the ANC have now joined the opposition in calling for President Jacob Zuma to stand down.
Denis Goldberg told the BBC’s Today Programme this morning that he should have “done something heroic” and resigned. Goldberg described the president’s apology as “insincere.”
Goldberg has been joined by Ahmed Kathrada – another Robben Island veteran. [See below]
On Friday Barbara Hogan called for Zuma’s head.
“For the country’s sake we need new leadership not just the president but also in Parliament.
“I feel incredibly sad that we in the ANC who were the driving force behind the constitution have allowed the founding principles of Parliament and the constitution to be abused.
“We need to rethink the role of (the) legislature in terms of oversight and accountability, not just in the National Assembly but in all the provinces.”
Another ANC stalwart and a Zuma presidency critic, Professor Ben Turok, said he was deeply angered.
“We have a situation where values of the president and his understanding of (the) constitution are wrong,” he said. “He (Zuma) doesn’t believe in constitutional democracy.”
Now the military trade union – SANDU – has demanded that Zuma steps down as their Commander in Chief.
In a media statement posted to Facebook, Sandu national secretary JG Greeff said it was “absolutely despicable” that Zuma had transgressed the very Constitution that the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) was charged with upholding.
He referred to the Constitutional Court ruling on Thursday, which stated that Zuma had failed to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution” when he did not adhere to the remedial actions called for by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
“Given the ruling made, the president can no longer be considered a fit and proper person to remain the commander-in-chief of the SANDF, nor can any of the parliamentary members who so stubbornly protected him in his questionable endeavours against the Public Protector’s findings, be considered fit and proper persons to hold office as members of Parliament.”
President Zuma’s fate will be decided by the ANC on Monday, when the party holds an extended National Working Committee (NWC) meeting which will be attended by all national executive committee members.
This will be the first meeting of ANC leaders beyond the top six since Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng delivered the judgment.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said any decision on whether Zuma will be sanctioned by the party will be made then.
“There’s an NWC meeting open to all NEC members. We’ll be talking to the political committees of the ANC in Parliament and caucus on Tuesday and after that we’ll be beginning a process of engaging provinces and regions of the ANC and we’ll meet our alliance partners.”
He said the party’s appreciation of Zuma’s apology is not a final word.
“So what we’re telling you today (Saturday) is not the final word, is what we’re going to take to that NWC. If the NWC is the right route to take, we’ll continue with it and then proceed to the provinces and the regions.”
Many members of the NEC are known to be loyal supporters of the president.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the National Assembly will debate a motion calling for the removal of President Jacob Zuma from office.
The motion was tabled by DA leader Mmusi Maimane through a letter to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete just minutes after the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma violated his oath of office and failed to uphold and defend the Constitution of the republic.
Maimane requested that Mbete consider his request to have the motion calling for the removal of the president debated by MPs. Mbete’s spokesperson, Mandlakazi Sigcawu confirmed this afternoon that the debate would indeed go ahead on Tuesday.
It will be the first time in the history of a democratic South Africa that a motion to remove a president is debated.
Zuma fights back
City Press reports that President Jacob Zuma and his backers have dared his detractors in the ANC: fire the president and face the consequences.
ANC insiders have told City Press that, among the tactics the Zuma camp is using in its fightback against those who want him recalled include warning that Parliament would have to be dissolved if Zuma is recalled, as it was also nailed by the Constitutional Court judgment, something that will threaten the job security of many MPs.
On Wednesday 6 April the list of those calling for Zuma to go grew.
This is from the Citizen
ANC veterans tell Zuma to step down
“I am a loyal cadre of the ANC. It is my organisation. It saddens me to stand here, as I never thought I would be worried about my president. Yesterday was a frog in the pot moment for many of us to witness what the party has become”.
Top African National Congress (ANC) veterans, including Cheryl Carolus, Mavuso Msimang and Ronnie Kasrils, gathered at the steps of the Constitutional Court on Wednesday and joined the chorus of calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
Carolus said by voicing her dissatisfaction with her party, the ANC, it did not imply that she was a disgruntled member of the ruling party.
“I am a loyal cadre of the ANC. It is my organisation. It saddens me to stand here, as I never thought I would be worried about my president. Yesterday was a frog in the pot moment for many of us to witness what the party has become,” she said.
“I watched last night and was sad that this actually happened under our watch. I call on everyone and those in the ANC to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’…president please resign!”
Former Constitutional Court judge Zak Yacoob said it was embarrassing that a “lawyer-turned-politician” stood in the National Assembly and “lied regarding what the Constitutional Court said”.
“The lawyer-turned-politician, whom I shall not name as I am ashamed to do so, told the nation from Parliament that the Constitutional Court did not find the president guilty of any serious wrongdoing,” Yacoob said.
Yacoob was likely referring to Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery, who staunchly defended Zuma during Tuesday’s debate in the National Assembly on a motion to impeach Zuma.
“The court left it to us to decide how serious this matter is. Our president has acted miserably, dishonestly and horribly. I call on the ANC NWC (national working committee), cabinet to look beyond the legality…look into your conscious my ex comrades! Zuma please go.”
He added that it was not right to blame Zuma alone, and that the work ahead was bigger.
“Our job is to make ANC NWC aware of what they did by keeping Zuma. Our job is vast and it includes the whole movement…the whole movement needs cleansing.”
Corruption Watch chairman Mavuso Msimang said he did not recognise the present ruling party anymore.
“What has emerged is the ANC that I am a member of is something that I do not know. What is happening is a serious crisis. I hope it is not too late for the ANC to remove the president …Zuma, please resign.”
Msimang said he would be consulting with members of his own branch in Midrand to deliberate on what to do as an ANC branch.
The Gauteng ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC), led by chairman Paul Mashatile has been vocal in condemning Zuma over the Nkandla debacle. The province’s youth league structure and Mashatile’s deputy, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, supported Mashatile’s criticism of Zuma’s handling of the Nkandla saga.
The mobilisation to get Zuma to step down would begin on April 16 with a dialogue on the country’s political climate.
“We call on you to discuss what is wrong with the country and more importantly what is needed to do right. We call on people to hold organised discussions in churches, villages, mosques, informal settlements, sports clubs about how to secure the resignation of Zuma. We call on you to drop any other plan you have and join that dialogue,” said Reverend Moss Ntla of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa.
April 27, which is Freedom Day in South Africa, would be the day of action, where “freedom that was stolen by Zuma would be claimed back”, Ntla said.
Former ANC Youth League leader Ronald Lamola, academic Prince Mashele, former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, and Mark Heywood of Section 27 and Anglican Bishop Joe Seoka were also present at the gathering.
The ANC accepted Zuma’s apology on the Constitutional Court ruling regarding the drawn-out Nkandla debacle, and has called for “forgiveness”. The ruling party said it remains behind Zuma and has rejected calls for his removal.
Kathrada to Zuma: Step down
By: ANA Reporter
In a letter to Zuma, Kathrada, who was among the eight accused sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1963-1964 Rivonia Trial, said “in all these years it never occurred to me that the time would come when I would feel obliged to express my concerns to the honourable president”.
“President. It is, therefore, painful for me to write this letter to you. I have been a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC and broader congress movement since the 1940s.“I have always maintained a position of not speaking out publicly about any differences I may harbour against my leaders and my organisation, the ANC. I would only have done so when I thought that some important organisational matters compel me to raise my concerns. Today I have decided to break with that tradition.
“The position of president is one that must at all times unite this country behind a vision and programme that seeks to make tomorrow a better day than today for all South Africans. It is a position that requires the respect of all South Africans, which of course must be earned at all times.
“I did not speak out against Nkandla although I thought it wrong to have spent public money for any president’s private comfort. I did not speak out though I felt it grossly insulting when my president is called a ‘thief’ or a ‘rapist’; or when he is accused of being ‘under the influence of the Guptas’. I believed that the NEC [national executive committee] would have dealt with this as the collective leadership of the ANC.
“When I learnt of the dismissal of [former finance] minister [Nhlanhla] Nene and the speculated reasons for this I became very worried. I’m fully aware it is accepted practice that the appointment and dismissal of ministers is the prerogative of the president.
“This might be technically correct but in my view it is against the best traditions of our movement. My concern was amplified when it emerged that the deputy finance minister reported that he was offered the finance minister post by members of the Gupta family.
“The people’s interest must at all times remain supreme. In this instance it was clearly not the case. The resultant crisis that the country was plunged into was clearly an indication that the removal of the minister was not about the interests of the people.
“The unanimous ruling of the Constitutional Court on the Nkandla matter has placed me in an introspective mode and I had to ask myself some very serious and difficult questions.
“Now that the court has found that the president failed to uphold, defend, and respect the Constitution as the supreme law, how should I relate to my president?
“If we are to continue to be guided by growing public opinion and the need to do the right thing, would he not seriously consider stepping down? I am not a political analyst, but I am now driven to ask: ‘Dear comrade president, don’t you think your continued stay as President will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?’
“And bluntly, if not arrogantly; in the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down?
“If not, comrade president, are you aware that your outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle stands to be severely tarnished if the remainder of your term as president continues to be dogged by crises and a growing public loss of confidence in the ANC and government as a whole.
“I know that if I were in the president’s shoes, I would step down with immediate effect. I believe that is what would help the country to find its way out of a path that it never imagined it would be on, but one that it must move out of soon.
“To paraphrase the famous MK slogan of the time, ‘There comes a time in the life of every nation when it must chose to submit or fight’. Today I appeal to our president to submit to the will of the people and resign,” Kathrada wrote.
Kathrada was involved in the activities of the African National Congress, the SA Indian Congress, the SA Communist Party, and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) even before the ANC opened its membership to non-Africans in 1969. In the Defiance Campaign Trial of 1952, he was among the 20 accused who were sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years. In the Treason Trial of 1956-1961, of the original 156 accused, he was among the last 30 who were finally acquitted in 1961. In the 1963-1964 Rivonia Trial, he was among the eight accused sentenced to life imprisonment. Kathrada was released in 1989, together with Walter Sisulu and others, four months before the release of former president Nelson Mandela.