The African National Congress (ANC) on Friday morning confirmed that its top six national officials will no longer be participating in a range of public activities across Cape Town as part of build up programmes towards the #Mandela100 Rally planned for Sunday.
The ruling party said in a statement that this was because of “various other commitments they are required to attend to”.
The ANC leadership under party president Cyril Ramaphosa are engaged in crucial talks with state President Jacob Zuma over the latter’s exit from public office.
Ramaphosa, who has been locked in talks with Zuma, had on Thursday cancelled his own public programme for Friday which was to have included interacting with the public at Mitchell’s Plain train station, meeting with the family of anti-apartheid leader Dullah Omar, as well as laying a wreath at the Trojan Horse site in Athlone, among other engagements.
On Friday the party announced that the programmes of the rest of its top six officials, including secretary-general Ace Magashule, had also been cancelled.
The party, however, said that the “mobilization programme will proceed with a number of NEC (National Executive Committee) members deployed in and around Cape Town today”.
The rally to celebrate the centenary of former president Nelson Mandela’s birth is still scheduled to take place at Cape Town’s Grand Parade on Sunday, with Ramaphosa set to deliver the main address.
The ANC apologised for the inconvenience caused by the cancelled public engagements of its leading officials.
Earlier, ANC communications manager Khusela Sangoni confirmed the cancellation of the public programme, but declined to comment on suggestions that the party’s extended leadership were gathering for an urgent meeting.
Sangoni and other party sources confirmed that Magashule, who is a Zuma supporter, had left Cape Town for Johannesburg.
“Yes, he has left,” she said.
In a momentous week in national politics, Parliament’s presiding officers on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of postponing the state-of-the-nation address which had been scheduled for Thursday evening, while the ANC unexpectedly cancelled a crucial meeting that was supposed to provide clarity on Zuma’s future.
There had been rising calls for Zuma to step down and to not deliver SONA, both from within his own party and the opposition, who have in recent years disrupted the state of the nation address in protest at Zuma’s presence amid myriad scandals of corruption and state capture.
– African News Agency (ANA)