A rocky ride lies ahead for the ANC in managing the future of President Jacob Zuma. This is according to political analyst Somadoda Fikeni. Fikeni was commenting on the mixed messages sent out by members of the ANC Top Six on the issue recently.
This past weekend’s comments by two of the ANC’s Top Six officials have added to further confusion as to what the governing party’s plan for President Jacob Zuma is. Addressing the ANC’s Youth League Rally in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule dismissed reports that the party might ask President Jacob Zuma to step down or recall him.
Magashule says no such decision has been taken by the party’s National Executive Committee.
“President Jacob Zuma is the President of the country, so President Jacob Zuma there is no decision which we have taken as the NEC that he must be removed. We have not taken such a decision, its only factional leaders who want to be populists, who are making those remarks,” said Magashule.
Magashule’s sentiments were echoed by his deputy Jessie Duarte who has told a weekend newspaper that Zuma will only step down next year. This is in apparent contradiction to ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, who while speaking to the BBC’s Zeinab Badawi in Switzerland last week, said President Zuma, is feeling “anxious” about his future as South Africa’s head of state.
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Zuma’s term in office isn’t scheduled to end until next year’s general elections, but there’ve been repeated calls for Ramaphosa to replace him immediately.
Political Analyst Somadoda Fikeni says that the country is beginning to see just how divided the recently elected ANC Top Six really is. “Once they start casting aspersions and start saying some of the people are loved by the media some of the people are speaking outside it may be a veiled signal to some of the leaders and that cannot be good for the ANC, especially if these contradictions emanate from a very sensitive position of the Secretary General who may seen to be contradicting the message from the president of the party.”
Fikeni says that recent moves to hold people accountable for alleged corruption may render any transition between Union Buildings and Luthuli House a rocky one.
“It is quite clear now that his transition will not be smooth and it is quite clear that the group that might be supporting President Zuma might be mobilising, especially when they see that the State of Capture Commission as well as other legal challenges may be targeting them.”
With President Zuma scheduled to chair the Cabinet Lekgotla later this week – the question of how long he will continue to run the country and with whose support remains uppermost in many people’s minds.