South Africa's ANC stands by Zuma, rejects calls for president to quit

Tammy Harvey
April 6, 2017

Half of the ANC's Top Six group of officials including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Secretary General Gwede Mantashe have publicly criticised Gordhan's sacking.

They said while they respected calls for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma, "such a step would not in itself be a complete solution".

He said the ongoing wave of anti-Zuma sentiments driven by the opposition, civil society and some ANC members only managed to push the party to close ranks.

He said NWC had also reflected on the call by ANC's tripartite alliance partners - the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Cosatu - for the president to resign, and added that they will engage members on the matter. The dismissal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan deepened concerns about government corruption and led the Standard & Poor's agency to lower South Africa's credit rating, citing political instability and threats to economic growth.

He said the party accepted that Zuma's relationship with Gordhan breaking down was sufficient reason for firing him.

Similar votes have failed in the past.

The African National Congress says it is solidly behind President Zuma, dismissing calls for him to resign.

Mantashe spoke a day after a meeting of a key party panel, the National Working Committee.

The opposition parties said ANC MPs should introspect "and choose Zuma and the Guptas - or the people". At the same time, the party was trying to engineer a no-confidence vote against Zuma at an emergency session of parliament.

Political analysts were not surprised by the ruling party's stance Wednesday.

ANC deputy secretary Jessie Duarte said the ANC knew from past year November that Zuma wanted to remove Gordhan.

Appearing to retract his criticism of Zuma's reshuffle last Friday, Mantashe said the NWC agreed that: "The public dissonance was a mistake that should not be committed again".

ANC members used the funeral service of ANC struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada last Wednesday to voice their dissatisfaction over the president's leadership.

Gordhan was at loggerheads with Zuma for months, receiving support from several ministers and major foreign investors, as well as many ordinary South Africans.

"This was consequently presented as the only reason for his removal which was unfortunate and incorrect", said Mantashe.

Ramaphosa had accused Zuma of removing Gordhan on the basis of a "spurious" report and local media have also reported its existence.

When asked why the relationship had broken down, he said it was only the two in the relationship who could answer that.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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