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Stage set to dump Zuma

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The nub of his objection to the ANC decision to recall him was it had never offered him a reason. What had he done wrong?

Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has chosen an exit as turbulent as his ascension to power in 2009.

Crying injustice, he refused yesterday to obey his party’s instruction to promptly vacate the Union Buildings.

The nub of his objection to the ANC decision to recall him was it had never offered him a reason. What had he done wrong?

He also accused the party’s new leadership of reneging on their agreement over tandem presidencies, a far more gradual sunset arrangement that he had proposed.

In an SABC interview offering his version of the to-and-fro of recent days, he portrayed a leader mystified by his dismissal, a man wronged, hurt, a victim of an ANC gone awry and a dud decision.

He was not defying the ANC, he said, arguing a bad decision. But he was ensuring a controversial if not humiliating end in public office.

It is up to Parliament today to fire him in a no-confidence debate, where the ANC is about to feel the sting of siding with its fiercest opponents in a debate called by those across the aisle.

As new ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile succinctly put it: “Once you have a motion that removes you, you are gone. There is no room for defying.”

By his telling, too, no MP in the ANC’s parliamentary caucus objected yesterday to Zuma’s outing – “none whatsover”.

This sets the stage, then, for a resounding dumping today.

Though he has been at the helm for significant achievements, controversy has stained much of Zuma’s tenure, with frequent criticism over State Capture, corruption and insidious government manipulation, incompetence and rampant patronage.

The path that he has chosen in the closing moments of office underscore that pattern.

While Parliament deals with one who is clearly deemed an albatross by his comrades, a liability in next year’s general election, refreshing assertiveness seems to be emerging in the ANC leadership.

The showdown with Zuma today, and the growth of sentiment against him in recent weeks, seems to be largely driven by the uncertainty plaguing South Africa.

It has infested our politics, governance and our economy.

It has even contaminated the national mood. The governing party seems intent on stopping this, espousing renewal.