President Jacob Zuma should step down as president of the country, but stay on as ruling party leader, some Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee members have proposed.
“Members of the provincial executive committee made several proposals, for example [that] the president says ‘Because of these concerns I should step aside as the president of the republic and just remain the president of the ANC’,” Gauteng ANC secretary Hope Papo told News24 Live.
The suggestion was made during a meeting on Monday.
The PEC released a statement on Tuesday, saying that Zuma should “do the right thing”. The statement, however, stopped short of saying that it wanted Zuma to step down.
This was despite a source telling News24 and ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile telling the Mail&Guardian that the PEC had resolved that Zuma should step down.
Papo told News24 that one of the proposals on Monday was for Zuma to approach the party’s integrity commission.
“If there are ethical and integrity issues relating to how this matter was handled, for example, the president can request the integrity commission to evaluate the matter and indicate whether there are ethical or integrity issues,” he said.
“It was a very difficult discussion, because we are talking about the president of our movement and the country.”
The PEC said in its statement that the ANC earned its leadership through the struggles and sacrifices of its members and supporters over generations.
“It is in that context that our president comrade Jacob Zuma should reflect deeply and do the right thing to resolve the unprecedented crisis that the ANC currently faces. The ANC has never taken the support of our people for granted and was founded to defend and advance the rights of our people.”
There have been widespread calls for Zuma to resign following the Constitutional Court ruling that he failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action to repay some of the money spent on so-called security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
The PEC said in its statement that it noted and accepted Zuma’s apology, which he made in a televised address a day after the judgment.
Zuma apologised for what he said was the “frustration and confusion” the Nkandla matter had caused.
“However, the PEC believes that the apology is just the beginning of dealing with the political damage and mistrust caused by the mismanagement of the Nkandla matter,” it said.
“The PEC believes that the ANC has already paid a price during the 2014 elections, due to among others, the anger of the electorate about the matter. As the ANC, we have to do a deeper introspection and take far-reaching decisions that will repair the damage to our image and to continue to enjoy the confidence and trust of our people.”
Papo said the party’s national executive committee would pronounce on the matter when it met in May.
Following a meeting last week, the party’s national working committee said it accepted Zuma’s apology, and that it was up to branches to decide whether to do the same.
“Our branches will have the right to object,” ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told eNCA.