Nearly ten years after the vigorous campaign that saw Mbeki out as the president, African National Congress alliance partners SACP says it regrets helping Zuma take over as the new president.
Former President Thabo Mbeki was forced to step down in 2008 after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) alongside its alliance partners SACP and Cosatu specially requested his resignation over allegations he misused his power.
Mbeki decided to yield to the call after considering the culmination of a bitter power struggle between himself and his chief rival, Jacob Zuma, the ANC’s leader.
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Mbeki denied he conspired against Zuma in a corruption case but told the cabinet he would accept whatever decision the ANC made, while denying any involvement in the decision to prosecute Zuma.
Nine years later SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande came to say that the party had made a mistake by believing that appointing Jacob Zuma as president would solve the problems in the Thabo Mbeki presidency.
“We are back where we were 10 years ago. We dealt with the symptom and not the fundamental problems,” Nzimande said speaking on the sidelines of Cosatu Gauteng’s provincial council of shop stewards.
ANC alliance partners SACP and labor federation Cosatu led the vigorous campaign for Zuma to ascend to party presidency ahead of the 2007 elections but are now leading calls for Zuma to step down, following his Cabinet reshuffle in March that saw five ministers fired, including former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
Giving reasons why the SACP and labor federation Cosatu turned their backs on Zuma, Nzimande said the issues were deeper than an individual
“Though we say we think it will be appropriate for the president to step aside, we can’t turn it into a personalized anti-Zuma campaign. It would be a mistake,” he said, adding that the problems leading to Mbeki’s resignation which include the failure to transform the economy, consult on key decisions and the abuse of state organs, is still prevalent in Zuma’s.
“What we never dealt with are factions that captured the organization. You now have what are … provincial kingmakers going around controlling the organization and causing lots of problems. We never dealt with that,” Nzimande said.
He said the alliance would be consulted, given that Zuma has said he will stay in power until 2019.
Meanwhile, BMI Research, a part of the Fitch Group Company released a research showing that Zuma is unlikely to be ousted by the National Assembly. However, a negotiated exit is more likely.
In it’s released research which looked at the impact of the Cabinet reshuffle on the economic outlook, the company noted that Zuma has “enough influence” within the ANC to resist any challenges to his position.
Thus, any move to oust him in the legislature will require votes from the ANC, but Zuma’s strong position within the ANC power structure limits the risk that the party will vote against him,” the report explained.
BMI research further noted three means by which the president can be removed. The first is a motion of no confidence which according to the company, requires a simple majority of 201 votes; The second is impeachment which also requires 267 votes or just over more than two-thirds s of the assembly; and the last is option is a recall by the National Executive Committee (NEC) which is a decision taken by consensus, rather than a vote.