The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has urged South Africans to unite in calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down. The foundation is holding a press briefing, in the wake of Zuma’s announcement of a cabinet reshuffle. It comes just a few days after Ahmed Kathrada’s death. Today also marks one year since Kathrada’s famous open letter to Zuma to resign. Kathrada’s widow Barbera Hogan said Zuma has become a rogue president.
“We view this conduct by the President, on the anniversary of the humble letter written to him exactly one year ago, by our beloved Isithwalandwe comrade Kathrada, as totally unacceptable. The memorial service would have been the ideal opportunity for the state to pay tribute to the memory of Ahmed Kathrada,” said the Foundation.
“For three quarters of a century Ahmed Kathrada, a revolutionary, selflessly sacrificed his life in the interests of the people. He has deservedly taken his rightful place alongside the many giants of our democratic revolution; a symbol who people here and abroad have come to love and adore.”
Kathrada passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning, March 28th, and on Wednesday at his funeral, people gathered from all walks of life, young and old, men and women, including stalwarts in their numbers.
Balton said President Zuma’s conduct in postponing tomorrow’s planned memorial indefinitely is unacceptable. The Kathrada Foundation, Nelson Mandela Foundation and SACP will host its own memorial tomorrow.
Zuma axed five ministers and three deputy ministers late on Thursday. It includes Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, who have been under constant attack by the president and other state institutions.
“Gordhan and Jonas worked tirelessly to stabilise our economy in the face of self-induced political instability. They and others, in our view, have been removed for protecting the country from corruption and looting, and speaking truth to power. They were not even shown the courtesy of being informed of their removal and they learnt of their removal through the media,” said the Foundation’s Neeshan Balton.
He said the decision of the President was made without the support of the Deputy President or the Secretary General of the African National Congress. It follows on the heels of
-the decision of the Constitutional Court in the disastrous SASSA debacle around the continuation of payment of social grants
-the SABC debacle where the recommendations of parliament were largely ignored
-South Africa being summoned to the Hague to explain the violation of its obligations at the ICC
-The President joining a court application by the Minister of Finance that attempts to interfere with our financial institutions.
“We are angered and outraged by the choices, and the consequences, of the decision of the President, including retaining Ministers who have been found glaringly wanting in executing their responsibilities, and putting narrow interests ahead of the interest of our country and its people. Contrary to the populist narrative that the President is furthering an agenda of radical economic transformation, the opposite is true. The consequences of last night’s announcement have the dramatic result that our scarce resources will be diverted to servicing debt and irrational procurement decisions, rather than delivery of services,” said Balton.
The Foundations has called the leaders and ordinary members of the ANC, leaders and members of the liberation movements and progressive civil society formations to build a new consensus that brings together all South Africans demanding accountability and ethical governance.
“We call on Ministers and leaders of the ANC who care about the future of democracy and the Constitution to speak up and call on the President, in the best interests of the country, to step down,” Balton continued.
“We call on the parliamentary leadership of the ANC, supported by all opposition parties, to insist that parliament be recalled immediately to debate a motion of no-confidence, proposed by the ANC leadership in parliament. We call on all members of parliament to unite and support a motion of no-confidence.
“We call on the people of SA in their mass formations to take to the streets and to make their views known. We support the rallying calls resounding across South Africa for all South African citizens to make their voices heard and take action to safeguard the future of all our children. The people united will never be defeated! Our country is not for sale!” VOC