POLITICS

President Jacob Zuma Is Going Nowhere -- ANC

There is broad consensus that there is no need for President Jacob Zuma to step down, Gwede Mantashe said, after he chastised the media's reporting.

29/11/2016 16:01 SAST | Updated 29/11/2016 16:22 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe.

President Jacob Zuma is going nowhere and there's no reason for him to step down from his position.

That was the pointed response by the African National Congress' (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) to a motion tabled by Derek Hanekom, minister of tourism, that Zuma step down from his position.

Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's secretary-general, told a press conference at the party's Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg the NEC "reaffirmed the president's leadership" when they decided not to accede to Hanekom's motion. Mantashe refused to give details of the arguments for and against the motion or confirm who supported the effort.

Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's secretary-general, said the NEC "reaffirmed the president's leadership" when they decided not to accede to the motion of no-confidence.

"We conducted the debate openly and freely, anybody was allowed to make a statement. We discussed whether or not the right cadres are deployed and if the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is still on course. We agreed the revolution is facing serious threats in the form of racism, nationalistic chauvinism and monopoly capital," he said.

"With regards to the call on the president, we unpacked a phenomenon that we identified after the local government elections, namely the negative narrative directed at the president," Mantashe said.

Mantashe was supported by his deputy, Jessie Duarte, who said a ballot was asked for, but not agreed to. "When we reached consensus it meant an idea was put forward for discussion but did not have sufficient support. There was no contradiction. Nobody stood up and said 'no, that's not what happened'."

"When we reached consensus it meant an idea was put forward for discussion but did not have sufficient support. There was no contradiction. Jessie Duarte

Mantashe, who chastised journalists for giving "running commentary" while the NEC was meeting, says members did not vote on the so-called motion and tried to reach consensus.

"Following an honest, robust and difficult discussion, the NEC decided not to support the call," he said.

He denied that any Cabinet member threatened resignation and said it would be inappropriate for a minister to do so. "We are all members of the NEC, there are no special members like a minister... whether you are a teacher, gardener, cleaner or clerk, once you are in the meeting you are a normal NEC member."

He denied that any Cabinet member threatened resignation and said it would be inappropriate for a minister to do so.

Mantashe does not expect any form of "mass resignation" from Cabinet. "There were no mass-resignations in 2008 [when Thabo Mbeki was recalled]. Eight ministers left and went to [Congress of the People]. You are a minister deployed by the ANC to do a job, you can't just walk away when you feel like it."

Mantashe said any minister who did speak out against the president did that as an NEC member, not as a member of Cabinet, and that it would have no bearing on their service in the executive. He said the ANC would not allow ministers to be victimised because that would be detrimental to the organisation.