As a defiant President Jacob Zuma prepared to meet the ANC’s top six this weekend to discuss his future, the opposition parties yesterday united as they called for his early exit and demanded that he should not be allowed to deliver his State of the Nation address (Sona) on Thursday.
The parties pledged to go ahead with their plan to have the president removed, accusing the ANC of being unwilling to get rid of Zuma despite him being a moral liability to the country.
The ANC top six meet on Monday to finally decide his fate.
They were recently mandated to negotiate for Zuma to step down voluntarily.
So far their attempts have failed, and instead the leadership is divided on whether he should go now or wait until the end of his term in 2019.
Secretary-general Ace Magashule and Jessie Duarte have campaigned for his stay.
Yesterday, a group of Zuma supporters told a press briefing Zuma must be left alone to finish his term, but across Gauteng in Kempton Park, the leaders of the UDM, EFF, ACDM, Cope and IFP were adamant that Zuma must go – and not be allowed to deliver the Sona.
“Should President Zuma deliver the Sona, it will confirm the ANC’s inability, or unwillingness, to do what is right for South Africa. It will confirm that the ANC is unfit to govern,” UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said.
The leaders agreed to write a formal letter to Speaker Baleka Mbete to express concern about allowing Zuma to deliver his speech on February 8.
The opposition leaders, except the DA’s Mmusi Maimane, who asked to be excused due to commitment in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, met to discuss their game plan regarding Sona and a motion of no-confidence submitted by EFF against Zuma.
“The ANC’s continued foolhardy inability to remove President Zuma clearly indicates that the ANC cannot be trusted and cannot be relied upon to bring about the changes promised by its newly elected leadership,” said Holomisa.
“The ANC installed Zuma as president in the full knowledge of the enormous legal and ethical and moral liabilities attaching to him.”
He said the opposition were united to fight corruption and state capture and to establish ethics on good governance.
Mbete this week scheduled the motion of no confidence on Zuma for February 22, a day after the Budget speech, despite a request by the EFF, with support of other opposition parties, that the motion be held before the Sona.
President Zuma was recently found by the Constitutional Court to have breached the country’s constitution and oath of his office on the Nkandla issue, and the National Assembly of having failed to hold him to account for that.
In line with the court ruling, parliament was now expected to process rules to impeach the president in terms of section 89 of the Constitution. Zuma faces at least 783 corruption charges.