Under fire former ANC president Jacob Zuma this afternoon denied that he defied the ANC and instead accused the ruling party’s top six of reneging on a promise to let him hang to power for six more months
“I have been with the ANC for quite sometime. You don’t force people [out]. You don’t say because you have authority [they must go]. It is only two months, we are being plunged in a crisis my leaders may regret because some members may not like this,” Zuma told the SABC.
“I am left with one year. If they are not careful they will cause problems. What I am talking about is not theoretical. I hope they will know how to handle the organisation. I am going to make a statement today around this matter.
“I think it is important I do so away from the interview so I can narrate some of the things which were not narrated because I have been portrayed as this person who is defiying the ANC. I have never defied the leadership. I have said here I don’t agree with the decision. No one has taken me through a disciplinary processes,” Zuma said.
Zuma countered information provided by the ANC top six as well as some members of the NEC on the chronology of events that began on February 4th “then the top six came to see me.”
He said the top six explained they were mandated by the national working committee (NWC) to “persuade” him to resign as part of the discussion the NEC activated “on the process of transferring the authority to the new president.”
Zuma said throughout the engagements he had with ANC leaders they had failed to explain to what they problem and as such didn’t find their basis for requesting that vacate power persuasive. He said instead he was told of the “good mood” the country was in. He said his biggest challenge was that the “matter they were raising in the first instance is not the first time it is raised. In fact the whole of 2017 this matter was raised, in the NEC itself.”
The former ANC intelligence chief stressed that he has never been taken to any “disciplinary structures of the ANC…I find it very…in the sense very unfair to me that this issue must be raised all the time.” He revealed that he heard rumours during the elective that once he is out of power he will be recalled, but wondered why the item itself was not placed on the agenda of the conference so it could be decided upon by branch delegates.”
He maintained that there is no “policy” in the ANC that gives guidelines on when Cyril Ramaphosa should become the president of the country: “The job of the new president is to prepare for elections in the next 18 months. This has been the accepted practice of the ANC. The president will then lead the organisation in the campaign. He will need that time to do so and win elections, after winning elections he finally gets elected by Parliament.”
Zuma argued that the twp centres of power only arose in Polokwane because Mbeki had already served two terms as president of the ANC two centres of power. He said he had also reminded comrades that “when Madiba finished at the conference in Mafikeng and Mbeki became the president of the ANC, Madiba continued being the president of the country.”
He said the party wanted an alignment, “his would have done” and claimed he proposed the postponement of Cabinet meeting with Ramaphosa after seeing visuals a “man kicking another man” outside Luthuli House. He said subsequent discussions resulted in Ramaphosa accepting his proposal that he remain president of the country for six months so he can introduce him to African leaders and do his handover as chairperson of SADC.
He also disclosed that during the recent AU summit in Ethiopia, African leaders warned Ramaphosa not to remove him as head of state, and hoped Ramaphosa would heed this call to remove “perception that Zuma would be elbowed out.”
He said he was the one who initiated discussions on the postponement of SONA and was unhappy when the matter was discussed in the media when he had thought it will be kept within ANC leadership circles.
In a statement issued immediately after the interview by spokesperson of the ANC, Pule Mabe, said the ANC “has noted the context to the decision of the NEC to recall Comrade Jacob Zuma, as a deployee of the ANC, provided by President Zuma in an exclusive interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) earlier today.”
“President Zuma has affirmed that he has not defied the ANC however does not agree with the decision. In addition, the President Zuma committed to deliver a statement in response to this decision later today. The African National Congress will await delivery of this response by President Zuma,” Mabe said and confirmed he will address the media at 16H00 from Luthuli House.