ANC LEADERS CLOSE RANKS BEHIND ZUMA’S NEW CABINET
April 05, 2017 | Uhuruspirit
Top six leaders of ANC after their election at ANC`s 53rd National Conference at the University of the Free State in Mangaung in December 2012.
Leaders of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) have successfully resolved their differences amid a major crisis that has been brewing in the party over the recent cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma.
The new development took place on Tuesday during the meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to discuss the recent cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma in which the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, were among those replaced.
At the meeting, the party was able to agree that the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between President Zuma and his former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was a sufficient explanation for the decision to replace him.
The cabinet reshuffle and, particularly, the removal of Gordhan whom many ANC leaders believe was doing a good job sparked an uprising within the ANC against President Zuma with top leaders, like Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize going public, outside the party structures, to disagree with the president.
To make matters worse, ANC alliance partners, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) went public with the demand for President Zuma to resign.
The open disagreement and confusion in the ANC had helped to embolden the opposition parties and some aggrieved former ANC leaders, who quickly united to make “Zuma Must Go” a rallying cry – further escalating what should have been an intra-party affair.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has tabled a motion of no confidence against Zuma in parliament.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane had emerged on Saturday to triumphantly declare that “if President Jacob Zuma doesn't jump, he would be pushed.”
On Monday, several opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance (DA, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), Inkatha Freedom Party IFP, United Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (Cope) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), addressed a joint press conference where they announced that they would embark on a national march to the Union Buildings next week as part of their ongoing efforts to remove President Zuma from power.
In a move that was seemingly designed to influence ANC members and South Africans to heap pressure for Zuma’s ouster, the S&P rating agency downgraded South Africa's rating to junk status, citing the cabinet reshuffle as a contributing factor.
On Tuesday, a group of at least hundred ANC stalwarts joined the melee and called on the president to resign.
Before the meeting of the ANC National Working Committee on Tuesday, it was looking more likely as though Zuma was on his way out (though the ANC Women’s League and the Youth League had remained solidly behind him) and that the ANC would enter into a serious crisis ahead of the 2019 general election.
But the meeting has managed to change the permutations.
Those ANC top leaders, who had uncharacteristically taken their disagreement with President Zuma to the public domain, were made to realize their mistake and promised that it would not happen again: “The Officials have given to the NWC a candid report about their serious and difficult disagreement. They have further acknowledged that their public dissonance on the matter was a mistake that should not be committed again,” said a statement by ANC National Working Committee.
In placing unity above their personal interests, the top six leaders acknowledged shortcomings in their collective management of the cabinet reshuffle.
In backing Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle, the National Working Committee finally congratulated all newly appointed Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
“The unfortunate events that transpired following their appointment should not and do not detract from the fact that they, individually and collectively, are very capable comrades who have invaluable skills and experience to offer to the work of government. We have no doubt they will work with integrity, dedication and humility to serve our people. The ANC wishes them well in their new roles and calls on South Africans to rally behind and support them in their quest to move our country forward,” said the NWC statement.
On the decision by the credit rating agency, Standard and Poor (S&P), to downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign rating, the NWC called on the ANC led government to redouble its efforts to avoid similar decisions by the other ratings agencies.
The meeting also tasked ANC national leaders to continue engaging with their alliance partners in the SACP and COSATU with the view to amicably resolve their differences.
Indeed, this is a bad news for some of the opposition parties that were counting on the support of some bitter ANC MPs to be able to successfully pass their motion of no confidence that would not only have gotten rid of Zuma, but would have also immersed South Africa into a deeper political crisis.
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