Neither the ANC nor its president Cyril Ramaphosa are going to entertain the issue of granting immunity from prosecution for President Jacob Zuma because they do not have such authority. Sources revealed that Ramaphosa, in a briefing to the ANC caucus in parliament yesterday, was not going to cut a deal with Zuma and the matter was not on the table.
Instead, the ANC leader said he was aiming to achieve ANC unity and to ensure a smooth transition of power. Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said the only option left for Zuma was to bargain for the payment of his legal fees by the state.
“He can only do that if he can prove that what he did was part of his work. However, still he can’t say the alleged corrupt transactions with Schabir Shaik were part of his work, as some happened before he was president or deputy president,” said Fikeni, who added the SA’s democratic dispensation did not provide for the presidential immunity.
This point was echoed by Dumisani Hlophe, another analyst, who said immunity was impossible in a constitutional democracy.
“He can’t negotiate for amnesty because SA is a constitutional democracy and has an independent judiciary. It would be far-fetched for him to seek immunity because Ramaphosa is not the head of the National Prosecuting Authority,” Hlophe said.
An ANC MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity and who attended the caucus yesterday, said Ramaphosa stressed the importance of unity of the ANC and the country as a whole.
“It’s impossible for him to give immunity. Cyril can even be charged for interfering with the judiciary because this matter is already in the courts.”
‘Give way, Ramaphosa is the boss’
On Sunday the ANC top brass gave a loud and clear message to Zuma that Ramaphosa was now in control of both the ANC and the country and that he must give way.
This same message was relayed by the party treasurer-general Paul Mashatile to investors in a leaked recording made at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“We said to President Zuma that we don’t want two centres of power, we want [ANC] president Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC but of the state and we were very clear,” said a clearly fed-up Mashatile.
“Our view as the ANC is that the sooner the president steps down for the new leadership [Ramaphosa] to take over, the better.”
DA leader Mmusi Maimane called for an urgent parliamentary sitting on Tuesday, while UDM leader Bantu Holomisa tweeted: “If Zuma doesn’t address the nation by Sunday evening to announce his untimely departure, vote of no confidence is waiting for him and his Cabinet.”