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Zuma'is not a stooge'

By Anna Majavu and Zukile Majova | Jun 26, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE African National Congress and President Jacob Zuma have rejected suggestions that he is a "stooge" of the ruling party and its alliance partners - Cosatu and the South African Communist Party.

A report by Frans Cronje, deputy chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations, set the ball rolling this week when he suggested the ANC should cut ties with the two organisations.

Reports that Cosatu wanted more powers for Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, who is also a former member of its central executive committee, fuelled claims that Cosatu was using its dominance in Zuma's cabinet to drive its own "leftist" agenda.

Earlier this month Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said Zuma "should be a stooge" for Luthuli House - because the president led a government charged with implementing ANC policies.

The debate went up a notch yesterday when DA leader in Parliament Athol Trollip asked Zuma: "Who is governing South Africa?

"The secretary-general of the ANC (Gwede Mantashe) is not the director-general of government and unless there is a clear separation of powers between the ANC and your government, you will become a marionette controlled by those that believe you are a dispensable tool."

Mantashe is a former unionist and a sitting chairperson of the SACP.

But MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told Trollip "the ANC is running the country under the leadership of Nxamalala (Zuma's clan name)".

Zuma put an end to the debate when he told Parliament that Madikizela-Mandela "answered the question of who governs the country clearly". He said there was "nothing untoward" about the ANC making policy, because "having formed a government to implement its policies and programmes, the ANC cannot disappear for five years".

But he also promised to be "sensitive" to the fact that the president was president of all the people of South Africa - not just the ANC.


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