Recent reports suggest that there is a possibility of President Jacob Zuma being removed from office when the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela releases her final report on the legality of the pricey security upgrades that were made at Zuma’s home in Nkandla.
The provisional report that was published by the Mail & Guardian last week sparked a national debate on Zuma’s suitability to be the president of the country. Many members of society and opposition parties, particularly the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), called for Zuma’s impeachment after reading the report. However, the ANC refused to take action based on a provisional report whose validity was not confirmed by the Public Protector’s office.
According to the report, the security upgrades substantially and improperly benefitted the Zuma family. The Public Protector found non-security enhancements such as a swimming pool, visitors’ lounge, amphitheatre, kraal and paving. She also found that new rondavels were built for some of the president’s relatives. Although Zuma had said these were paid for by his family, the investigation apparently found that the state’s money was used. The report accuses Zuma of misleading parliament and failing to protect the state’s resources.
The New Age newspaper, which is believed to have connections in parliament, reported on Monday that the ANC had plans to remove Zuma from office and replace him with Kgalema Motlanthe ahead of the elections. The National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet on Friday for its last meeting. ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said it would be an ordinary meeting and there were no plans to remove Zuma.
Analysts believe that the Nkandla controversy may cost the ANC significant voter support next year. Therefore it is possible that some members of the NEC see Zuma’s removal as a necessary precaution to prevent this from happening. The ANC has urged Thuli Madonsela to release the final report as soon as possible. Madonsela said the final report will be released in January next year. If it corroborates the findings revealed in the provisional report that was published by the Mail & Guardian, Zuma could potentially lose his job as president of South Africa.