Zuma’s Supporters Are ‘Not Sycophants’ – ANC Chief Whip


The African National Congress (ANC) chief whip, Jackson Mthembu has expressed complete and unreserved support to South Africa’s embattled president. Mthembu, whose appointment took place weeks ago asserted that voting Zuma to power doesn’t mean that he and other supports are ‘sycophants’.

Addressing the media in parliament on Wednesday, Mthembu asserted, “We are not sycophants. Some have called us sycophants – people who do things without even reasoning. We were convinced and are still convinced that we voted correctly, that we couldn’t have voted otherwise.”

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He added that calls for Zuma’s impeachment by opposition parties lacks foundation as he has never come across a governing party, which will be so willing to throw out a sitting president. Mthembu however labelled Nkandla saga a “learning curve”.

The governing party’s chief whip asserted that it would have been a different ball game assuming the Constitutional Court had questioned Zuma’s fitness to hold office. And again, he said the court did not declare the president’s violation in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution, which compels Parliament to remove the president from office.

Mthembu postulated that “The court never… asked us to inquire on the… conduct of the president, into the suitability of the president to hold office. Had they done so, we can assure you, that in fact, the matter would not have come from to the assembly.

As the ConCourt judges correctly emphasized, the president is a ‘constitutional being’, as he’s created by the Constitution. This means any mistake he commits in the course of exercising the functions would be constitutional in nature.

However, not all constitutional offences amount to dismissal, unless the Court specifically declares that the conduct directly relates to Section 89.”

Lending her voice, deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude stated that Zuma never said he would not reimburse funds spent on Nkandla homestead.

ANC chief whip, Jackson Mthembu was appointed last month after former chief whip Stone Sizani resigned to take up the post of South Africa’s ambassador to Germany. Sizani succeeded Mathole Motshekga in 2013. He has been in the parliament since 2014 as Parliament Member.

On Wednesday, Parliament discarded its controversial process of appointing the new National Youth Development Agency board and opted for the process to start from scratch. The house decided to do so in the face of legal threats by one of the unsuccessful candidates, who alleged that the process was erroneous.

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