President Jacob Zuma seems to be skating on thin ice after the ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Irene, outside Pretoria, yesterday discussed a motion of no confidence in him.
Further to the story, Zuma faces a shock motion of no confidence from top ANC leaders, which reported that Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom was the first person to call for a motion of no confidence in Zuma, The Citizen established that the motion was seconded by many NEC members.
News24 also reported on Monday morning that the other ministers asking for Zuma to step down were Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi. They were strongly supported by ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, the site added.
“News24 has learned from inside sources that more than 30 people spoke for and against the ‘surprise’ motion tabled by Hanekom for Zuma to step down on Saturday.”
They also reported that Zuma was defended by three other ministers: International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; State Security Minister David Mahlobo, and Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana
Ironically, the NEC is dominated by Zuma’s allies and such a motion would, in the past, not have been discussed in any NEC meeting. This time, however, it appears that the tables have turned against Zuma, who is under increasing pressure to resign.
An ANC source told The Citizen there was a possibility of an exit strategy for Zuma.
“The motion of no confidence has happened,” the source said. “It received support at the meeting. An exit strategy as a way to minimise the damage is possible.”
There are fears that forcing Zuma out could further divide the ruling party, which is facing its worst crisis in its 104-year history.
It is understood that Zuma’s backers, including the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association and ANC Youth League President Collen Maine, launched a fightback strategy at the meeting.
They again rallied behind Zuma. Another ANC source sympathetic to Zuma said most NEC members would never vote to remove the president.
“It will never happen. Zuma is going nowhere.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a member of the youth league said: “No one will dare take him on. They are scared of him.”
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a terse statement on Sunday evening that the meeting, which was scheduled to end on Sunday, had been extended to Monday.
– Additional reporting by African News Agency