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Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Time’s Up for Zuma

Ido Lekota

The dice are cast for President Jacob Zuma with the ANC wanting him to step down by the end of the week.

The ball is now in Zuma’s court. He can either resign and keep his benefits as a retired President or be impeached and forfeit all the benefits. His comrades in the party want him out even before the impeachment process and argue his continued stay would impact negatively on the party’s performance during the 2019 general elections.

On Wednesday, the party’s national executive committee is expected to endorse the national working committee [NWC]’s decision to recall Zuma as the country’s president. This after Zuma failed to heed appeals from his comrades on Monday that he must do the honourable thing and resign.

During a meeting with the ANC top six officials on Monday, Zuma stuck to his guns and refused to step down. According to ANC insiders, Zuma told the ANC delegation led by party president Cyril Ramaphosa that he had no intention of stepping down.

In the meeting, Zuma allegedly shot down the two centre of power argument advanced by ANC Treasure General Paul Mashatile, reminding him how well the system worked in Gauteng, where Mashatile was chairman and David Makhura was provincial premier. The embattled president also told the ANC leadership pushing him out would create serious divisions within the party because “people still loved him”.

But developments show that Zuma’s days as the head of the country’s government are numbered with National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete on Tuesday announcing the postponement of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) after an urgent meeting with the ANC leadership.

The decision to postpone the Sona came amid calls from with the ANC and the opposition parties that he should not be the one to deliver. Opposition parties had even threatened to interdict Mbete to postpone the Sona.

During the Sona Zuma was expected to outline the implementation of his controversial introduction of free tertiary education.


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