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#Zuma’s future on the line

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Top Six to meet with President Jacob Zuma regarding his future.

President Jacob Zuma

SOUTH AFRICA is on a knife edge last night as ANC Top Six officials are expected to meet President Jacob Zuma to discuss his future in a gathering which will determine the future of the country.

Late in the afternoon ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told congregants in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, that ANC officials were meeting Zuma to consider options regarding his future.

“We want to ensure that there is stability in the country, that is why we are meeting President Zuma tonight. We are not going to humiliate president Zuma; we are going to have a discussion on what is in the interest of the ANC and the economy,” Mantashe said, speaking during a service of at the headquarters of  the St. John’s Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Katlegong.

“We are asking for prayer so that there is peace in that meeting; we must be able to look at various options,” he added.

Last week Mantashe told Independent Media that the options facing Zuma included the president stepping down voluntarily, or facing a motion of no confidence or impeachment in Parliament.

Mantashe also heaped praise on Ramaphosa, saying since his election the Rand had strengthened and that there was a growing confidence in the country from business.

“Our job is not disappoint people,” he said.

Mantashe’s comment came as pressure mounted in and outside the ANC on Zuma to resign as head of state, a situation that has also laid bare divisions within the top six leadership of the organisation.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has scheduled a motion of no confidence in Zuma on February 22, should he refuse to step down.

This is after she rejected attempts by the DA to postpone the state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday and by the EFF to have a motion of no confidence tabled before Zuma addresses the nation.

It also emerged yesterday that civil society coalition FutureSA, which has previously called for Zuma to go, plans to handover a letter tomorrow to the ANC calling on the ruling party to recall the president.

FurtureSA patrons include ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang, general secretary of Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) Dennis George, Reverend Giet Khoza and Wayne Duvenage, the CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse.

Tension was also brewing between supporters of Zuma and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Hundreds of ANC members from at least six provinces are expected to descend on Luthuli House, the party’s headquarters,tomorrow to demand that Zuma step down as head of state.

The #ZumaMustGo campaign is scheduled to start this morning with a march to the ANC’s head office Luthuli House in Johannesburg and would  also be held in the country’s major cities.

The ANC has confirmed it is aware of the march.

#ZumaMustGo convenor Bishop Max Maumela said they were expecting as many as 90 buses to transport ANC members and other anti-Zuma marchers from across Gauteng and had the backing of the party’s alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP.

According to Maumela, the campaign has already packed three hotels with marchers from the Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

”If he does not go we will go and take him out … We will strike until he goes,” he said. Maumela threatened a total shutdown of the country if Zuma does not step down.

Gabriel Nkgweng, another ANC member from the North West who is part of the #ZumaMustGo campaign, said they would not allow the leadership elected at the ANC national conference in December to be disrespected.

Nkgweng was a representative of the 40 disgruntled ANC members who successfully overturned the Bojanala regional conference on the eve of the national conference in December.

”It’s about time for Zuma to distance himself from utterances made on his behalf,” said Nkgweng.

The former ANC regional treasurer of the Bojanala region said Ramaphosa was bringing back people’s confidence in the party.

Organisers of the #ZumaMustGo campaign have warned other marchers in support of Zuma not to disrupt their gathering as they will also not hesitate to defend themselves should violence erupt.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla did not respond to requests for comment .

Organisations including the MK Inkululeko Foundation, the National Taxi Alliance and Black First Land First have threatened that there would be a civil war should Zuma be forced to step down. The organisations are also planning a #HandsOffZuma march to Luthuli House tomorrow, setting the scene for a possible confrontation with supporters of #ZumaMustGo#

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the organisation was not involved in preparations for the #ZumaMustGo march but did not rule out its members could be part of it in view of its call for Zuma to step down or be recalled last year.

He said the party wanted to give the ANC’s new leadership a chance to deal with Zuma’s future.