Leagues defy Gauteng ANC

The ANC’s youth, women’s and veterans’ leagues in Gauteng came to President Jacob Zuma’s defence yesterday after the provincial executive committee on Monday called on him to “do the right thing” and resign.

The leagues rejected the committee’s position, saying they would not support a resolution that the president “step aside” following the Constitutional Court judgment that he had violated the constitution in respect of the non-security upgrades to his private Nkandla residence.

The provincial executive committee meeting on Monday resolved that Zuma should not continue as ANC leader and president of the state.

Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile told the Mail & Guardian that it would help the ANC “if Zuma steps down”.

“We felt that the apology alone won’t win back the confidence of the people. It [The judgment] damaged the image of the country and [of] the ANC,” he said.

The Gauteng ANC yesterday afternoon issued a watered-down statement in which it called on Zuma to “reflect deeply and do the right thing to resolve the unprecedented crisis that the ANC currently faces”.

Senior ANC Youth League leaders said they would not support the provincial party.

“We said [at the meeting of the provincial executive committee] that most people are misquoting the Constitutional Court judgment. It did not say the president must resign. It said he must pay and he will pay,” an ANCYL leader said.

The leagues are expected to host a joint press conference today to distance themselves from the executive committee’s stance.

The Gauteng ANC’s call for Zuma to go is significant but the provincial party’s influence on the ANC as a whole is minimal.

The ruling party’s most influential provinces – KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape – have declared their support for Zuma.

Free State, North West and Mpumalanga have rejected calls for Zuma to step down.

The KwaZulu-Natal working committee of the ANC has rejected calls by “our legendary opponents and those within our ranks, including some religious leaders, for the president to step down”.

The Gauteng leagues have argued that the provincial executive committee is bound by the decision of the ANC’s national working committee to accept Zuma’s apology.

The ANC said branches across Gauteng would meet to discuss the implications of the Constitutional Court judgment against Zuma.

A provincial general council meeting is scheduled for May 5.