President Jacob Zuma is willing to step down in order to recover the ANC’s “integrity”, a newspaper on Friday reported senior party sources as saying.
The top ANC members told the Mail & Guardian that they had been secretly working on an “exit strategy” for Zuma, who has been under fire in recent months over scandals involving the Guptas, the Constitutional Court’s Nkandla ruling and a high court judgment over his corruption charges that were dropped by the NPA.
The M&G’s report comes just under a month after the Sunday Times reported that ANC head honchos were working on a plan to remove Zuma.
ANC leaders had told the Sunday Times at the party’s manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth that those behind the plan needed to “buy time and only act after the elections”. They said they were giving Zuma a “long rope to hang himself”.
The M&G reported that a report will be presented to the ANC’s National Executive Committee two weeks from now with recommendations for Zuma and the party going forward.
But an NEC member, speaking to the Friday weekly on condition of anonymity, said they have to work carefully so as not to “destroy the ANC”.
In the weeks after the ConCourt’s Nkandla ruling, many former leading ANC members and struggle stalwarts urged Zuma to step down as president, News24 reported.
Among them are former deputy ANC secretary general Cheryl Carolus, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, former justice Zac Yacoob, ex Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, former ANC Youth League member Ronald Lamola, and others who have come together as members of the People’s Consultative Assembly for Democracy.
Struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada and former finance minister Trevor Manuel also said they want Zuma gone.
Many ANC grassroots members have also been vocal about their desire for the president to leave office.
Members from several ANC branches in the Free State last month joined a small group of anti-Zuma marchers in Bloemfontein.
“In 2007, when other ANC comrades said Zuma must be the president, my region never supported him, and now we have been proven right,” one marcher and a regional working committee member, Thokozile Mokoenanyana, told News24.