ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has welcomed the president’s apology to the nation for violating the constitution, saying that calls for Zuma to resign over the matter are an “overreaction”.
In a media briefing following an address by the president, Mantashe spoke on behalf of the ANC, saying that the party was ready to engage with anyone who wanted to engage on the matter.
However, he said that parties calling for Zuma to be recalled was a reaction that was disproportionate to the words of the ConCourt ruling.
He said opposition parties were all shouting at the ANC, telling it to “do the right thing”, but he said this was nothing new. Opposition parties try it every year, he said.
“It would be a sick organisation that takes action (to tear itself apart) because an opposition party asks for it,” he said.
Mantashe rather reinforced the party’s support of the president, saying it was time to close ranks and put forward a united front.
He said those with an interest in the Nkandla matter should read the Constitutional Court’s ruling very carefully, before shouting and making noise in the media.
Mantashe said that the ANC would hold an extended meeting on Monday, 4 April, to discuss the Constitutional Court judgement in detail with party members, before moving on to other sectors of society.
“I apologize”: Zuma
In an address to the nation on Friday, President Jacob Zuma said that he would respect the ruling of the Constitutional Court, and would pay a portion of the fees for Nkandla.
The president used his address to welcome the decision by the court, and to defend his actions surrounding the Nkandla matter.
Zuma said that he had always maintained that he would pay back the money – but relied on parallel processes to determine the amount he owed.
He said he never knowingly set out to violate the constitution – he simply followed a “different approach” which he understood to be legal at the time.