By Mayibongwe Maqhina | IOL |
President Jacob Zuma is going nowhere, say his supporters in the ANC leagues and some of the party’s provincial structures, who are now rallying for a fight-back.
They were adamant they would resist any attempt to have him recalled from public office, regardless of the findings made in the public protector’s “State of Capture” report, made public on Wednesday.
The Daily News has learnt that while guidance was awaited from the ruling party’s national executive committee on how to deal with the report, Zuma’s supporters will encourage him to take it on review to the high court.
It was also expected that branches would be mobilised against the perceived attacks on Zuma, with the people taken into confidence about the challenges facing the ANC and government.
An all-out campaign would be mounted to discredit the report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela, which is viewed by Zuma loyalists as having failed to give the president a fair opportunity to state his case.
In KZN, the ANC’s provincial executive committee will meet at the weekend to mull over how it would deal with the report, which it has insisted was not “gospel truth”.
The Free State ANC, also a centre of Zuma power, plans to hold a retreat to consolidate its approach on how to take up the matter and to engage with people on the ground.
But, the ANC Youth League has came out strongly, pronouncing that the State Capture report would not affect Zuma in any way.
“The president is going nowhere. He is staying in office until 2019,” the league’s provincial secretary, Thanduxolo Sabelo, said.
“We will never allow instability. There will be no meeting of the ANC that will take a decision to remove Zuma in the presence of the Youth League,” Sabelo said.
He insisted that a motion of no-confidence in Parliament to unseat Zuma would find no support in the ANC.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday that Parliament will debate a motion of no confidence against Zuma on November 10.
But Sabelo said: “All the ANC members will never vote to remove the president. We will never donate the president to monopoly capital.”
Another option to remove Zuma – through an ANC conference – would fail, he said.
“Any lobby group must subject itself to the processes of the ANC and beyond that there is no other way,” he said, adding that numbers would favour Zuma.
The president enjoys the backing of all the leagues and several provinces as well as many members of the national executive committee, something that should once again ensure his political survival, Sabelo said.
ANC Free State spokesman, Thabo Meeko, concurred.
He said they were aware there would be fresh calls to recall Zuma, something he likened to “regime change”.
“It has always been our view that such calls are not new. People are desperate to renew the call, but we know these things were a fabrication of propaganda against the president,” Meeko said.
ANC KZN spokesman, Mdumiseni Ntuli, said while the provincial leadership would meet on Sunday and Monday, anyone within the ANC advocating Zuma’s removal had a partisan agenda, be it covert or overt.
“The report was not rebutted and therefore can’t be a gospel truth,” he said.
“Our view is that the little we read about does not justify that the president must go,” he said.
He said some of the people implicated in the report had not been given an opportunity to make submissions.
“One of her (Madonsela’s) remedial actions is that the judge for the commission not be appointed by the president. There is something wrong in that approach. It is clear that she has concluded that the man is guilty as charged,” Ntuli added.
ANC Youth League national spokesman, Mlondi Mkhize, said Zuma should take the report on judicial review because he was not afforded an opportunity to respond to it.
“The recourse is to take it to the judiciary. That is what the president must do because there could be some form of changes to the report,” Mkhize said.
ANC Women’s League secretary-general Meokgo Matuba agreed. She said any person or institution implicated in the report had a right to take it for judicial review.
“Those rights must be respected by the law-abiding citizens of South Africa,” Matuba said.
Meanwhile, as part of a fight-back strategy, the league would continue to mobilise support for Zuma, Sabelo said.
“We will defend the president. We are a clear majority. The president has unassailable support, they must just forget,” he said.
Meeko said they were waiting for guidance from national leaders, but people would be mobilised and made aware of the role of monopoly capital in the attack on Zuma.
“We must take the report to the people. The effective way is to engage and take the people into confidence on challenges facing the ANC and government,” Meeko said.
In her report, Madonsela gave Zuma 30 days to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry headed by a judge appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to look into “observations” she found during her investigation.
She also ordered that her successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, refer matters identified as crimes to the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks.
Madonsela’s report is the result of an inquiry she launched into whether Zuma had allowed the Guptas and his son to influence the appointment of cabinet ministers and board members of state-owned entities, and whether he turned a blind eye to attempts to influence the awarding of state contracts to Gupta businesses.