In what has become akin to a cat that has nine lives, President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa has survived yet another attempt at dislodging him from the number one position, it emerged on Tuesday following the meeting of the ruling party’s top decision-making body.
In the meeting, which started on Saturday and was meant to end on Sunday but only ended on Monday evening, the final word as expressed by the Secretary General of the party, Gwede Mantashe, the National Executive Committee did not support the call for Zuma to step down. What had started as a normal meeting of the top decision-making body of the ruling party quickly spiralled out of control when the Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, made an unexpected call for Zuma to step down. He was quickly supported by three other cabinet ministers according to unnamed sources. According to the official position of the ANC however, there was “… robust, honest, candid and at times difficult discussions. The NEC did not support the call for the president to step down.” This, according to Mantashe as he addressed a press conference at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
In his response to his near ousting, Jacob Zuma came out with both guns blazing and shooting from the hip as he went on the rampage and called the goings on during his party’s meeting. He started off by blaming it all on a western plot and opposition collaborators for this bid by his officials. He refused to resign and said to do this would be to hand himself over to his enemies. He further noted that the call for his resignation came just three weeks after the Democratic Alliance had submitted a motion of no confidence in his leadership. He demanded of his detractors to deny that they were working with his party’s rivals.
After all has been said and done, by the end of the meeting, Zuma had survived yet another onslaught on his leadership. The final call was to say that the ANC’s top six would discuss Zuma’s fitness to hold office and to remain in that office. Having survived this, Zuma returned to his duties by travelling to Cuba to attend the funeral of Fidel Castro.