Civil-society organisations have called on South Africans to rise and decide on a plan of action to push President Jacob Zuma out of office if he won’t step down.
The southern African country is divided on wether Jacob Zuma should step down or finish his term in office. The ANC parliamentarians defended an impeachment move which was endorsed by opposition parties in South Africa.
The campaign, which calls itself The South Africa We Demand, includes prominent religious, political and business leaders, unions and other community-based organisations. On Wednesday the group joined the growing chorus in and outside the ANC that has expressed a loss of faith in Zuma’s leadership following the damning Constitutional Court ruling last week.
At a briefing on the steps of the same court in Johannesburg, the leaders described Zuma as a “thief, liar and liability” responsible for the economic, political and social crisis the country was facing.
“Our president has acted miserably, dishonestly, corruptly and horribly,” said former Concourt judge Zak Yacoob.
Zuma’s former comrade Ronnie Kasrils told the briefing Zuma’s negative attributes had been swept under the carpet while in exile. Some of the most notable names in the new initiative are ANC veterans Mavuso Msimang and Cheryl Carolus, and former Cosatu leader Zwelinzima Vavi, all of whom were present at Wednesday’s briefing.
The group also said they have the support of Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, businessman Reuel Khoza and former finance minister Trevor Manuel, among others. The organisers said they would lead a campaign of mass action this month, which would reach its climax on Freedom Day.
“This year, we must use Freedom Day to reclaim a freedom that has been stolen by Zuma and all who are like him,” said Rev Moss Ntlha of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa.
The group, and the mass action campaign it plans over the next few weeks, adds to the ruling party’s headache as it scrambles to limit the damage to itself caused by the Zuma fallout.
At the moment ANC is deeply divided and will struggle to contain an internal rebellion against the president. That internal rebellion was brought into sharp focus on Thursday, when the party’s Sefako Makgatho branch in Johannesburg called for Zuma to be suspended from all office, disciplined and replaced as ANC leader.
In a letter to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, the branch demanded that Zuma resign as leader of both the country and the party, or alternatively face suspension while being investigated by the party’s integrity commission.
Former ANC Youth League leader Ronald Lamola said discussions within branches illustrated a growing dissent by “a majority of ordinary members” who wanted the president to stop “hiding behind the constitution” and go.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro