Zuma divides ANC top 6 - Ace, Duarte mobilise against Cyril
The ANC top six leaders are divided over President Jacob Zuma's fate as the country's number one citizen.
So far, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has given a clear indication that Zuma's exit should be managed carefully.
Speaking to international media in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Ramaphosa said Zuma was "anxious and he wants matters to be handled carefully ... and I am saying my key interest is to move the country forward, it's not so much about what happens to an individual."
Ramaphosa, along with others in the ANC top six, have been tasked to handle Zuma's exit.
But Ramaphosa's comments seem to have mobilised his opponents and Zuma loyalists in the top six, namely Ace Magashule and Jessie Duarte, the secretary-general and deputy secretary-general respectively, to fight him.
Speaking in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday, Magashule said it was only factional leaders who wanted Zuma to step down.
"There is no decision from the NEC for Zuma to resign . it is only factional leaders who want to be populist," he said.
Magashule might be irritated more by the news that the Hawks are about to arrest those involved in the dairy farm corruption in the Free State, where he is head of government.
He said the law should take its course and there should not be attempts to "intimidate" those implicated - through the media.
Meanwhile, Duarte told City Press that Zuma was going nowhere.
Their comments contradict Ramaphosa's view on Zuma.
The officials who support Ramaphosa are David Mabuza, Gwede Mantashe and Paul Mashatile.
Mabuza at the weekend in Limpopo again emphasised the issue of unity in the ANC. He said he would not contradict Ramaphosa and would protect him.
The split in the top six also shows that Zuma backers were working behind the scenes to reclaim the ANC.
Sowetan understands through sources that this group is working on winning back two key Zuma provinces - KwaZulu-Natal and Free State. The group also has an eye on Gauteng, after Mashatile was elected to the ANC top six.
Once they have regrouped with support in the provinces, they are set to call for a special national general council intended to remove or suspend Ramaphosa from his post.
The ANC NEC has suspended the leadership of KwaZulu-Natal and Free State.