AZAPO set to pull out of GOvernment

Eric Naki and Canaan Mdletshe

Eric Naki and Canaan Mdletshe

The Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo) could pull out of the government to protest the ANC decision to sack President Thabo Mbeki

Prominent political parties including Azapo, IFP, United Democratic Movement (UDM), Socialist Party of Azania (Sopa), PAC and the African People's Convention (APC) have all condemned the ANC's NEC decision to sack Mbeki.

Azapo has called for the country's president to be elected directly by the people rather than by the party.

Azapo is expected to make an announcement today that it is leaving the ANC-led government. The party's president, Mosibudi Mangena, is the Minister of Science and Technology.

Azapo deputy president Pandelani Nefolovhodwe said the ANC's decision undermined the President's office and the political parties that elected him in Parliament.

"The President must be directly elected by the people, rather than being subjected to the mercy of a ruling party," said Nefolovhodwe.

Azapo's standing committee said the reported intentions by some cabinet ministers to resign will have a "negative impact on the already weak service delivery apparatus".

PAC president Letlapa Mphahlele said the party believes that the ANC decision was not in the country's interest, but was informed by "self-serving narrow interests, desire to pre-empt the appeal by the NPA and position mongering" within the ANC.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said Parliament should have the last word and "not some kangaroo court of the ANC NEC".

"It is clear that this desperate mob wants to quash the case against Zuma at all costs," he said.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has described the decision as the "biggest challenge to South Africa since apartheid".

Sopa president Lybon Mabasa said the ANC decision was worrying because "vengeance has triumphed over magnanimity".