Sacking 'defiant' Zuma from ANC not something up for discussion yet — Ramaphosa

06 February 2021 - 08:46
By nonkululeko njilo AND Nonkululeko Njilo
President Cyril Ramaphosa says former president Jacob Zuma should be given time to think after the advice he has received on his refusal to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times President Cyril Ramaphosa says former president Jacob Zuma should be given time to think after the advice he has received on his refusal to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture.

People calling for former president Jacob Zuma to be sacked from the ANC after his refusal to appear before the state capture commission are “speaking for themselves” as it is not a matter that is up for discussion yet.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who said Zuma needed to be given more time to think carefully about his decision.  

On Monday, Zuma said he would not co-operate with the inquiry despite the apex court's ruling compelling him to do so. He said he did not fear imprisonment should his decision be considered a violation of the law, a move which has been heavily criticised and caused division in the party.

“This is a matter which I'm sure he's going to give much more thought to, because he's being counselled by a number of people and organisations that the constitutional structure that he contributed so much to, needs to be given consideration,” Ramaphosa said on the matter on Friday.

"And I’m sure in his own mind, in his own time, he will think about this,” he added.

Ramaphosa was speaking to the media during a courtesy visit to the home of the late anti-apartheid stalwart, Rebecca Kotane in Soweto. This happened around the same time EFF leader Julius Malema and strong Zuma allies met the former president at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal over tea.

Asked to comment on calls for Zuma to be removed from the party, Ramaphosa said the matter had not yet been discussed by the national executive committee (NEC).

“That is really pre-empting something that is not even being considered. Those who are saying something are speaking for themselves. That's not something that's in consideration right now.

“All of us, we need time to reflect and think about this. And in life, it's always best to think about matters carefully and deeply before we come to rushed conclusions. Rushed conclusions have no bearing on the reality of our constitution,” he said.

Ramaphosa's sentiments come just two days after the party's secretary-general, Ace Magashule, visited the Kotane home and came out in defence of Zuma, saying he had done nothing wrong.

“Why should we suspend a person who believes in what he believes? Why should we call him to order when he’s done nothing wrong? There is no structure of the ANC, be it a province or region, which can call for Zuma to be disciplined. They are out of order. They are populists who always try to do this, and the ANC is quiet about these populists who like to appear in the media.”  

Ramaphosa added that until Zuma had reflected on his decision and the matter was discussed by the NEC. those who called for his removal would be “just missing the point.” 

Also speaking at the Kotane home, the provincial secretary of the ANC in Gauteng, Jacob Khawe, said the province held one view: “Our position has always been consistent. It is that we prefer to have engagements with a member of the organisation.

“And that’s what we are going to do — to ask the former president to come to the  provincial executive committee (PEC) to have a broad discussion about challenges of the ANC and challenges of building a country protecting constitutional democracy.

“All we can say for now is that it is in the best interests of our country and the ANC for Zuma to appear before the commission. We think it will also give him an opportunity to be heard so we don't judge him from far, we judge him from listening to him,” he said.

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