Ensuing and ever-deepening crises surrounding South Africa’s President are testing the resilience of the young democracy’s institutions. Concerns that the ruling African National Party (ANC) does not have the political will to put the people’s interests ahead of partisan interests put the country at risk. More importantly, the inaction on the part of the ANC is interpreted as reflective of a deeper malaise.
South Africa needed to build a mass movement to force President Jacob Zuma to go, civil society organisations said on Saturday.
More than 30 organisations met in Langa, Cape Town where they hatched a plan of action to force Zuma to leave office.
The civil society organisations, called the People’s Assembly, also resolved that Parliament needed to be dissolved.
“This means that we should come out in our multitudes to speak with one voice and say ‘enough is enough’. Each one of us will be engaged on mass mobilisation and [will] spread the message and mobilise our communities,” they said in a statement on Sunday.
They also called for the right of voters to be able to vote for their own leaders, including mayors and premiers.
“We demand an ethical and moral leadership henceforth and we shall not rest until that is achieved. It is time to take our power back and build the South Africa we want. South Africans must rise and say ‘enough is enough’,” they said.
To achieve their plan to force Zuma out, the People’s Assembly will on Wednesday, April 27 march to Parliament and occupy the precinct.
They would also mobilise communities by holding rallies, they said.
“We pledge our strength and aim to spare no effort, to fight against a corrupt, greedy and kleptocratic leadership that is preying on the resources of the state to enrich itself at the expense of the people.”
Meanwhile… a Sunday newspaper reported that senior ANC leaders have begun working on a plan to remove President Jacob Zuma – but only after the local government elections.
The officials have “secretly been selling the plan to branches, regions and provinces opposed to Zuma”, the Sunday Times reported. The plan is allegedly to remove Zuma as both party leader and South African president.
The newspaper said that one of the senior leaders had said at the party’s manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth that those behind the plan needed to “buy time and only act after the elections”. They said they were giving Zuma a “long rope to hang himself”.
The anti-Zuma camp wished to remain anonymous, but KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala, a staunch Zuma supporter, said they were aware of the plan.
Last week, Gauteng’s provincial executive committee released a statement, urging Zuma to “do the right thing”. The statement, however, stopped short of calling for Zuma to step down, News stands reported.
This was despite a source telling News24, and ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile telling the Mail&Guardian, that the PEC had resolved that Zuma should step down.
Gauteng was the only province to break ranks. Most other ANC PECs said theyh supported the party’s national executive committee’s decision not to recall Zuma.
Meanwhile, many top politicians and former ANC senior members have joined the call for Zuma to step down. Among them are former deputy ANC secretary general Cheryl Carolus, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, former justice Zac Yacoob, Zwelinzima Vavi, former ANC Youth League leader Ronald Lamola, and others who have come together as members of the People’s Consultative Assembly for Democracy.
“Hundreds of thousands of ordinary South Africans have expressed their desire for Zuma to resign and said they were prepared to roll out continuous mass action.”
The outcry comes after the Constitutional Court found that Zuma had failed in his duty to uphold and defend the Constitution by not instituting Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial actions on the Nkandla upgrades. Zuma apologised to the nation for “misunderstanding” the legislation surrounding the protector and promised to pay for the upgrades.