President Jacob Zuma has done nothing wrong as party leader and South African statesman, African National Congress secretary general Ace Magashule said after confirming the recall of the beleaguered state president.
”We are still treating Comrade Zuma as the president of the country. He has not been found guilty in a court of law…we did not take the decision because we think he did something wrong,” Magashule told reporters in Johannesburg.
A staunch Zuma supporter, Magashule was at pains trying to explain to journalists why his long-time ally was shown the door by the governing party. Although there was no deadline given to Zuma to step down, he is expected to revert to party leaders on Tuesday, Magashule added.
The scandal-ridden Zuma asked the ruling party an extension of three to six months before his departure. This, said Magashule, was because the president wanted to introduce the next South African president to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Brics and the African Union (AU).
”If Comrade Zuma wants to further engage with us we will do so…we are all given grace periods in whatever we do, as an employee you get that from your employers as well. However, the NEC decision to recall Zuma is final and cannot be changed.”
Describing his and party president Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to Zuma at the Mahlambandlopfu official residence in Pretoria on Monday night to inform him of the NEC decision, Magashule said Zuma was ”cordial and up and about”.
”We did not find him sleeping, he was up, healthy as he is. Our discussions were cordial because we respect him as leader. I have always supported Comrade Zuma as the leader of the ANC. As members, we rally and support a leader at any given time.”
Magashule said Zuma has never demanded conditions for his exit as it had been reported.
The party top brass were yet to decide who would take over as the country’s deputy president once Ramaphosa occupies the Union Buildings.
Names such as that of NEC members Lindiwe Sisulu and Naledi Pandor have reportedly been put forward for the deputy presidency.
– African News Agency (ANA)