The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said on Monday it had no say on whether embattled President Jacob Zuma should step down or not and that the matter was up to the African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) to decide on.
The union said it would, through its federation, meet with the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) to “further engage” with leadership of the ANC on problems and the disunity facing the ruling party.
However, Popcru decried corruption, factionalism and slate politics within the ANC and called for unity ahead of the 2019 general elections.
When pushed further whether Popcru supported calls by two other Cosatu affiliates – the National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and the Communications and Allied Workers Union (CWU) – for Zuma to step down, secretary-general Nkosinathi Theledi said his union “hasn’t got a yes or no” answer to the question.
“We rely on the movement to give proper direction on the matter, hence you will not get any answer on that. The ANC’s challenges are Popcru and ANC challenges, and we need to engage robustly,” said Theledi.
“Our issue is not with the individual, we need to approach the issue holistically … will removing one individual solve the problems we have?”
The union was a staunch backer of Zuma and helped catapult him to victory against former president Thabo Mbeki at the 2007 ANC elective conference in Polokwane.
Increased dissatisfaction with Zuma’s leadership, which has been clouded by scandals such as Nkandla, Nene-gate and former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s explosive State of Capture report saw some of the ANC veterans and leaders break rank and call for his resignation.
An extended meeting of the ANC NEC to discuss Zuma’s fate, under way on Monday in Irene, Pretoria, a few ministers, including Health Minister Aaron Motswaledi and Science Technology Minister Naledi Pandor were reportedly supporting a motion of no confidence against Zuma, first tabled by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom at the NEC on Saturday.
The president’s staunch backers, such as the provincial premiers of Mpumalanga, Free State and the North West, were reportedly leading the charge against his detractors. They called on the ministers to resign from their executive posts seeing that they had no confidence in Zuma’s leadership.
Sunday saw the meeting extended to Monday as more NEC members flew in to Pretoria to be part of the meeting, where Zuma was expected to put up a fight and remain in power.
Zuma’s detractors believed that the continent’s oldest liberation movement would lose more power in the 2019 general elections should he remain at the helm.
Zuma’s second term as ANC president ends next year after the party’s elective conference, where his successor would be elected.