Columns 2.9.2016 06:04 am

Just chill, ANC. Zuma won’t be going

President Jacob Zuma enjoys the Annual Traditional dance festival at the sports field next to his home in Nkandla on 01 January, 2016. Picture: Gallo Images

President Jacob Zuma enjoys the Annual Traditional dance festival at the sports field next to his home in Nkandla on 01 January, 2016. Picture: Gallo Images

Amid the frantic calls by some sections of the ANC looking to give Zuma an early push, the actual likelihood of this happening is probably zero.

It would be interesting to see if the ANC’s post-election assessment and consultation with branches will bear any fruit and heal the divided party.

There is no doubt that the party is facing its worst crisis ever, with factional battles raging within the 104-year-old movement.

Word on the ground is that many in the ANC want President Jacob Zuma to do the right thing and resign. The two branches in the Eastern Cape that have reportedly said that Zuma must go are not lone voices by any means.

ANC national executive committee (NEC) members will visit Limpopo, North West and the Free State this weekend to conduct a post-elections analysis to act on the concerns raised by the people in course of the election campaign.

The ANC suffered serious setbacks, but the question is: will NEC members listen to the branches?

What really irks me is that ANC delegates are even told who to vote for when they go to conferences.

The two provinces – North West and Free State – that are led by Zuma allies Supra Mahumapelo and Ace Magashule, respectively, are likely to pour cold water on calls that Zuma should go.

Limpopo is the only province that can come out singing a different tune. However, even it is divided between those who want Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma as ANC leader and head of state in 2019, provided the ANC wins the general elections – and right now it can’t take that for granted.

And then there are those who support the ANC Youth League and Women’s League’s calls for a female president to take over from Msholozi.

My message to ANC members who want Zuma to go is: “Just chill. The president is going nowhere. He is going to finish his term of office.”

After all, the NEC – the ANC’s highest decision-making body between conferences – has no teeth. I don’t see the NEC telling Zuma, “Mr President it is time that you go.”

The NEC is dominated by Zuma’s allies and most of them are benefiting under his leadership. Honestly speaking, for the sake of unity within the ANC, Zuma should just be allowed to finish his term.

Any attempts to recall him will simply deepen divisions within the party, and most of them know it.

This became evident when former president Thabo Mbeki was removed nine months before the end of his term, in 2018. ANC members who sympathised with Mbeki left to form the Congress of the People, and were probably surprised that Mbeki didn’t join them.

Yes, the ANC is in trouble, but that does not mean hasty decisions should be taken.

Zuma will leave when it is time for him to go and not because some ANC members and opposition parties want him to go.

 

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