If President Jacob Zuma does not resign today the ANC should remove him with a motion of no confidence and expel him for bringing the party into disrepute, a leading political analyst said.
Professor Dirk Kotze, head of politics at Unisa, said if Zuma refused to resign today as dictated to him by the ANC national executive committee, it would be an utter disregard of discipline and he should be subjected to a disciplinary action.
He said nothing less than drastic measures, including expulsion, should be meted out for him undermining the party.
Zuma’s continued stay in power was costly to the taxpayer as public funds had to be spent during the discussions for him to resign and the parliamentary processes to schedule and then postpone the State of the Nation address.
Kotze said the delay was also a huge expense for the ANC as it had to pay travel costs and catering while deliberating Zuma’s resignation. The ANC gave Zuma until today to resign.
The ruling party announced yesterday it had decided to recall him in terms of the party’s constitution, which allowed it to “recall any public representative”.
Zuma requested a three- to sixmonth grace period before he left – but the reason for this extension was not explained. The ANC had rejected the proposal and gave him until today to step down.
According to secretary-general Ace Magashule, the State Of the Nation address (Sona) would go ahead, but had to be delivered by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa because the ANC wanted him as the country’s president and its election face in 2019.
The recall had left Zuma with only two options: to resign today and go, or defy the ANC and face being removed with a vote of no confidence, or impeached, by his own party in parliament.
Already, a no-confidence proposal was submitted by the opposition EFF and an impeachment process was underway in parliament as proposed by the Constitutional Court, which said Zuma had breached the constitution and his oath of office on the Nkandla saga.
Kotze said Zuma could refuse to resign and that would force the ANC to contemplate drastic measures against him.
“The ANC would have to go for a motion of no confidence. At the same time, Zuma should be expelled as an ANC member for bringing the party into disrepute. He thinks he is bigger than the party. You have to be expelled – even if you are the president – just like all other members,” Kotze said.
Political analyst Susan Booysen, from Wits School of Governance, said Zuma’s reluctance to step down undermined Ramaphosa and the ANC. “He is making Ramaphosa look rather weak as a leader,” she said.
As this recall had no basis in the constitution, Zuma could use that as an excuse and refuse to step down.
The party leadership would soon brief all ANC structures, alliance partners and the mass democratic movement about the decision to recall Zuma.
The first briefing would be to the party caucus in parliament today.
“All parliamentary processes that arise from this decision will now ensue,” Magashule said.
“While appreciating President Zuma’s proposal, the NEC noted that South Africa is going through a period of uncertainty and anxiety as a result of the unresolved matter of transition. This uncertainty will erode the renewed hope and confidence among South Africans since the 54th National Conference of the ANC.”
Magashule said the prerecall engagements with Zuma were meant to pursue the interests of SA and the ANC. They were required to act with urgency to steer the country towards greater levels of unity, renewal and hope.
“We are determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urgent economic recovery.” He said all parliamentary processes would continue, including Sona and the budget – but he did not state when these would happen.
The rise and fall of power
- December 18: SA’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is elected president of the African National Congress.
- December 20: Ramaphosa fires his first warning shot across President Jacob Zuma’s bows when he states: “The ANC wishes to send a clear message to all South Africans that we are resolved to be a more responsive and more accountable leadership and movement.”
- January 13: Zuma is booed at the ANC’s annual statement of January 8 – the founding date of the ANC.
- January 15: Ramaphosa suggests Zuma may be removed “in the interests of South Africa” but “should never, ever” be humiliated.
- February 5: A pro-Ramaphosa “defence” of Luthuli House against a planned BLF march in support of Zuma goes disastrously wrong when ANC member Thabang Setona kicks Olivia Makete, 52, viciously in the ribs.
- February 6: The State of the Nation address is postponed. February 7: Speculation over Zuma’s position as president flares as silence from the ANC continues.
- February 9: Ramaphosa cancels his public engagements.
- February 10: The ANC national executive committee (NEC), aka the ANC top six, meets without Zuma after cancelling a weekend walkabout in Cape Town ahead of the party’s centennial celebrations in honour of late former president Nelson Mandela.
- February 12: The ANC NEC meets at a hotel in Irene, Tshwane, for 13 hours to discuss Zuma’s future.
- February 13: The ANC informs Zuma he has been recalled in terms of its constitution and is given the chance to resign. No time frame is set.
- February 14: Parliament moves all committee meetings to the afternoon; the ANC holds a special caucus of all the party’s chief whips.