Zuma exit delays could involve more demands
While Jacob Zuma's exit negotiations are currently ongoing‚ political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni reckons the president may still be trying to obtain a settlement agreement that would suit his needs once he vacates the Union Buildings.
Zuma‚ 75‚ is currently the hottest item on the ANC national executive committee agenda currently taking place at St Georges Hotel in Irene‚ Centurion‚ which is deliberating on his fate.
"President Zuma must be playing out what he perceives to be differences between those who support him and those who support Cyril Ramaphosa knowing that the margin is not so big. [Zuma] knowing that when he goes‚ those he appointed into cabinet and those who stand to face trial may resist any transition knowing that he would give them an extra cover for the remaining year‚" said Fikeni.
Last week‚ National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete announced an unprecedented decision to postpone the State of the Nation Address‚ which opposition parties had been calling for Zuma not to deliver.
Soon after that‚ talks about an exit plan for the president gained momentum and intensified after the ANC top six met with Zuma on Sunday to ask him to "hand over power" to ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Then‚ the meeting of the ANC's highest decision-making body - the NEC - was also postponed after a last-minute deal that resulted in Wednesday's meeting being called off.
Although ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile gave details to mining investors in Cape Town of how their meeting went with Zuma on Sunday‚ insiders said among some of the demands that Zuma had put on the table were that he be given a presidential pardon.
Since ascending to power‚ Zuma's term in office has been dominated by corruption scandals. He faces 18 charges for fraud and corruption‚ among other alleged crimes.
Fikeni said Zuma could possibly pre-empt the likelihood facing plenty of charges after he vacates the Union Buildings and therefore could be negotiating with Ramaphosa to grant him a presidential pardon.
"Zuma might know that he's not going to have a quiet retirement because he is likely to be in and out of court cases so he might have tried his luck to check immunity even though that is not granted in our constitutional arrangement. He might also be looking at the security of his family as well as the legal fees because he will be facing a mountain of legal challenges‚" said Fikeni.
"Our constitution based laws would simply make it impossible because this matter has now gone out of the hands of any political arrangement‚ it is now a legal matter as it has gone to the Constitutional Court and it is monitored as such‚" Fikeni added.
A presidential pardon is the right of the leader of a country to forgive someone for a crime‚ or to excuse someone from a punishment‚ after going through a trial‚ found guilty and serving some time in prison. A sitting president is constitutionally mandated to give a presidential pardon.
Fikeni added Zuma's exit talks could also involve seeking benefits for his family which he may still be trying to negotiate as part of the exit package.
Meanwhile‚ the Congress of the People says the country has suffered immeasurable harm under Zuma’s presidency and that his removal could not come sooner.
"COPE however notes with concern that many in our country are eagerly and with high anticipation waiting for the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress to recall Mr Zuma from the Presidency. This act would however be unconstitutional‚" said Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota.
He said unlike former President Thabo Mbeki who was removed unlawfully‚ Zuma should be removed in the National Assembly.
"Section 102 states that 'If the National Assembly‚ by a vote supported by a majority of its members‚ passes a motion of no confidence in the President‚ the President and the other members of the Cabinet and any Deputy Ministers must resign‚'" said Lekota.
"COPE asserts that Mr Zuma be urgently brought before Parliament and be removed in accordance with the provisions of our Constitution‚" he added.
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