Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Secretary-General, Godrich Gardee has confirmed that he met several African National Congress (ANC) senior members, including NEC member Derek Hanekom in a bid to pass a vote of no confidence in then-President Jacob Zuma.

Gardee was part of the EFF delegation that had an audience with Inkosi Mlambo II at Mbuzini in Mpumalanga ahead of the party’s public meeting with the residents of Mbuzini.

Gardee says it was in the interest of the country that Zuma be removed as President.

“Well we met quite a number of ANC leaders and very senior leaders and amongst them, Mr Derek Hanekom has confirmed that he has met me on more than three occasions. At the Eastgate Mall, what more can I say because it comes from the horse’s mouth? There is nothing much I can say but we met a quite lot of them really. We nearly made it in that vote of no confidence. We lost about 70 to 25 votes. We were there, we had a significant chuck of the ANC members of parliament who actually voted with us.”

On Thursday, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule described NEC member Derek Hanekom as a ‘wedge driver’ on a mission to divide the ANC.

In a statement, Magashule says the ANC is dismayed by Hanekom’s confession that he held meetings with the EFF to indicate that he and other ANC MPs would support the EFF’s vote of no confidence in former President Zuma.

Magashule says Hanekom always blamed all the ANC bad publicity on Zuma in NEC meetings. He further says Hanekom and other ANC MPs put pressure on the National Assembly Speaker to accede to the EFF’s demand of a secret ballot during the no-confidence motion.

Magashule has accused what he calls “ANC sleepers” of helping the EFF in its quest to divide the governing party and to displace it.

However, Hanekom said there was nothing wrong with the meetings as they had a common interest at the time.

‘Internal ANC problem’

Political Analyst, Khaya Sithole, has described Magashule’s statement as an ‘internal ANC problem’. Sithole says Magashule’s statement shows clear frustration and anger within sections of the ANC.

Sithole suggests that the statement itself was not a problem of Derek Hanekom, in particular, but an ANC problem.

According to him, this is clearly a sense of frustration and anger within the ANC. “The first thing the ANC should have said was this was clearly an internal party matter, not a matter of state. We are going to have a conversation with him and after that a united statement. At least something that says we have decided as a mature organisation to sit down and ask him categorically what the motivation was; and these are the steps we are taking going forward. It really came across as a one-sided broadside attack and that is something that the ANC should have though beyond,” expressed Sithole.

Hanekom insists there’s a lot of fuss made out of nothing, following his confirmation that he met with Gardee.

SACP defends its position 

ANC Alliance partner, the South African Communist Party (SACP) has defended itself from recent utterances by the EFF. This after EFF leader Julius Malema, told supporters that this plot to remove former President Jacob Zuma from power also included the SACP’s Solly Mapaila.

SACP spokesperson, Alex Mashilo, says they had since March 2017 made public calls for Zuma to be removed.

“The SACP took a decision on Jacob Zuma then, in that capacity, that he should resign and if he does not resign the ANC must recall him. After the ANC recalls him and still he does not resign, he must be removed through a motion of no confidence. This was in March 2017.

“We communicated it publicly and engaged in open public activities to implement it. What we did was to make sure that we match words with deeds and we avoided contradictions. This is not a secret, it is open,” Mashilo adds.

Former President Jacob Zuma has taken to twitter to respond to the confession by Hanekom, saying this confirms his testimony at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry that Hanekom is a known agent.

In his testimony Zuma accused two former ministers of being apartheid spies.