With savage internal fighting over President Jacob Zuma expected at the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting this weekend, it is nevertheless still likely Number 1 will survive – yet again.
This was the opinion of political analyst Daniel Silke, who said: “For the NEC to remove Jacob Zuma early, it will only create tension when there are only six months left until the ANC’s national conference where they will want to use their own internal constitutional processes to remove him.”
Silke added: “This is a guessing game, and one can speculate that he will survive.”
By rather using the national conference to elect new leadership, the ANC would save itself from forcing Zuma into retirement in which case the party would seem to succumb to pressure from the opposition and civil society calling for the president’s head, he said.
“They do not want to show opposition, and for example the South African Council of Churches, that they [civil society] are in the driving seat. They want to gain control on the Zuma debate,” Silke said.
ANC Veterans leader Reverend Frank Chikane said that this weekend would mark the final moment for the ANC to redeem itself or “face its own death”.
Chikane – who is also part of the ANC stalwarts group consisting of more than 100 members – said should the ANC fail to discuss and resolve to recall Zuma this weekend, it would be the beginning of the end of the ANC.
“The current leadership of the ANC has reached a crossroads and the choice is theirs to either save the ANC … or face the demise of the organisation….”
He said the entire NEC, including Zuma, had a huge executive responsibility on their shoulders during what he described as a “historic” weekend.
“They only have one more chance and that is this weekend, and the president too, or else he will face the risk of being remembered as having been nothing but a failure during his tenure as leader of the governing party.”
Chikane confirmed that the stalwarts had sent letters to both Zuma and the ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, including an “open letter” to the entire NEC.
In the letters, the stalwarts said that at a meeting they had held on Tuesday they expressed alarm at the overwhelming body of information about the “capture of our government” to serve individual and particular commercial interests.
“There was original evidence in the State of Capture report, and this has been expanded by the report of the unburdening panel of the South African Council of Churches [SACC].
“The report presents in a coherent and systematic way that there has been and continues to be a project of the capture of the government by members of the ANC in government and some elements within business,” he said.
“In particular, the ANC should seriously consider recalling the president as head of state and of government.”
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said they had not yet received the letters. Political analyst Elvis Masoga said the stalwarts could see the ANC was now being “carried into a coffin”.
“I agree with the stalwarts that this weekend is a last chance for the ANC to save itself. Asked what he thought was going through Zuma’s mind, Masoga said that since the president was booed at the Cosatu May Day rally earlier this month, Zuma had “become vulnerable and fearful for his future”.