Top six to ease Zuma out

Jacob Zuma looks at stalls and greets exhibitors at a exhibition centre hosted at the National ANC Elective Conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.
Jacob Zuma looks at stalls and greets exhibitors at a exhibition centre hosted at the National ANC Elective Conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.
Image: Alaister Russell

The uncertainty over President Jacob Zuma's future might have led to him not attending the inauguration ceremony of the Liberian president-elect George Weah in Monrovia today.

The Presidency yesterday announced that Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane would represent him in Liberia.

Zuma's spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said the Presidency had never said Zuma would attend.

"A minister represented the president during the inauguration of Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa. A minister represented the president during the inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta."

Sources said there is a strong push for Zuma not to deliver the state of the nation address next month.

"It is a matter of days before he is shown the door."

This is according to several ANC national executive committee (NEC) members who spoke to Sowetan yesterday.

"It is done. There is a new chapter," said one NEC member as speculation went into overdrive on Zuma's future.

Another NEC member said the spirit of the discussion between the ANC top six officials and Zuma was that Zuma should be given a dignified exit.

"We still want to embrace him as our leader."

However, another NEC member said Zuma has been told to resign.

The ANC's 80-member NEC - the party's highest decision-making body inbetween conferences - met over the weekend, where most leaders agreed Zuma should step down.

The ANC top six officials - president Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president David Mabuza, secretary-general Ace Magashule, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, treasurer-general Paul Mashtile and chairman Gwede Mantashe - have been tasked with dealing with Zuma's exit. Magashule and Duarte are known staunch Zuma supporters.

The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veteran's Association president Kebby Maphatsoe, Zuma's ally, told Sowetan yesterday: "We will abide by the decision of the NEC. I will comment when something has happened, I don't want to speculate."

Ramaphosa has gone to Davos, Switzerland, to assure investors on how he is going to make changes in the struggling SA economy. This comes after an urgent plan was hatched to change the Eskom board.

Sowetan understands lenders want the government to give them guarantees over the billions of rands they were going give the struggling power utility.

There is a strong move by the ANC under Ramaphosa to deal with corruption.

This follows revelations of how the Guptas, Zuma's close friends, milked the country using taxpayer's money from a Free State government dairy farm project to eradicate poverty.

Zuma yesterday attended the ANC lekgotla in Irene, south of Pretoria, where he took part in the discussions of one of the commissions.

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