Supporters of President Jacob Zuma are demanding that ANC MP Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma be appointed as the interim president as one of the conditions for him to step down.
Zuma and his supporters are demanding that Energy Minister David Mahlobo and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo remain in their positions, according to a report by Mail & Guardian today.
The publication is reporting that the conditions under which Zuma would be willing to resign as head of state have emerged as the biggest points of contention in the discussion among senior ANC leaders. It is said that newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and chairperson Gwede Mantashe have privately expressed reservations about some of Zuma’s conditions for stepping down as the country’s president.
Earlier this week, newly elected secretary general Ace Magashule did not address the question of whether Dlamini-Zuma should become the interim president, but stressed she played a pivotal role in uniting the ANC.
“Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is part of the collective. All of us will play our role as individuals in the collective. She has a role to play in uniting [the ANC] and in addressing the challenges of inequality,” Magashule was quoted as saying.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa confirmed that there are negotiations currently underway between various leaders within the party.
“We are aware of discussions between the president of the ANC and president of the country about how to ensure Luthuli House remains a centre of power without undermining the president of the republic. We are not aware of the conditions,” Kodwa said.
Anonymous national executive committee (NEC) members reportedly dismissed the conditions as unrealistic.
“The old man wants to protect his Cabinet appointments in strategic positions such as energy and security for the next two years. They [Ramaphosa and Manatshe] are refusing that condition. It’s mainly because he is treating the Cabinet like it is not an ANC Cabinet; it’s his own. Whoever comes in will make or break him,” a senior member of the NEC reportedly said.
“How do you retain someone like Mahlobo who has insisted on implementing a nuclear programme which is not affordable to the country? Bongo has been in the media for all the wrong reasons since he was appointed,” another NEC member said.
It also reported that Zuma’s suggestion that Dlamini-Zuma serve as interim president has been rejected by Ramaphosa, who has argued that Human Settlements Minister and NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu or National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete would be better suited to hold the fort for two years.
The publication also reports that the party’s top six leaders have briefed Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and Xhosa King Zwelonke Sigcawu about their plans to ask Zuma to resign. King Zwelithi allegedly backed the proposal to have Zuma recalled as head of state.