Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says the issue of whether President Jacob Zuma stays on as the country’s head of state is on the agenda of the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC.
Mbalula, a member of the ANC’s NEC – the highest decision-making body between conferences – was speaking at Amalinda Stadium in East London on Sunday where he was mobilising support for the January 8 statement rally which will be held at the Absa Stadium in the city.
During an interview Mbalula said the when the issue of two centres of power arises, the ANC was the natural centre which took decisions.
This was in reference to Zuma being the head of government, while his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa was the ANC’s president which gave directives to its deployees in government.
“The question of whether President Zuma stays till when is a matter that remains on the agenda of the NEC,” Mbalula said.
“And the NEC will pronounce on that and none of us at the present moment have a locus standi to say whether or not the president must stay. The NEC will deliberate on those questions and take a decision. The leadership that has been elected will brief the nation on those particular matters,” Mbalula said.
He added that the ANC was the ultimate winner at its elective conference at Nasrec in December where Ramaphosa was elected president ahead of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who was Jacob Zuma’s preferred candidate.
Mbalula said ANC members were energised and forging ahead with unity.
“Any member of the ANC who is not energised I don’t know where they live. We members of the ANC are happy about the outcome of the conference. Yes there was a contest but we have got results that made all of us happy about the outcome. We have got a president and a full leadership that has been elected,” he said.
“But over and above that we are very much happy about the decisions that our organisation has taken, such as radical economic transformation and on the question of land and the economy. We are very much excited.”
He said that now that Zuma was no longer the face of the ANC, opposition parties who focused on the former ANC president would now have nothing else to offer.
“The opposition does not have a plan for this country. Their programme of action has been President Zuma. Now that we have come from a conference where we have a new president, it remains to be seen going forward what is going to be their issues,” he said.
According to Mbalula, the main issue of the opposition with the ANC has not been fundamentally about the party’s policies but rather about the president figure of the ANC.
“We have a new president now and going forward we are confident that he will actually build on where others left off and consolidate the gains of the ANC. The ANC has not been criticised on implementing its own policies. But it has been held at ransom in relation to a presidential figure in terms of the issues that arise around that particular individual,” Mbalula said.
Ronald Lamola, another NEC member, said there was renewed vigour across the country with the election of Ramaphosa as president.
“It is like the national conference of the ANC was a revival. The mood in the country is electrifying. There is just general excitement,” Lamola said.
On the issue of the two centres of power, Lamola said it needed the collective wisdom of the NEC.
“I am sure the wisdom of the NEC will be applied and will take clear decisions ... but also the NEC will deal with this matter with the sensitivity it deserves and the responsibility it needs,” Lamola said.
He added that the matter of whether or not Zuma should resign or be recalled was urgent.
“You can’t leave members and society or any other person confused. The members of the ANC and society as a whole need to get clarity on what must happen. But that must get the collective wisdom of the NEC and I am very confident that the NEC will deal with this matter with its sensitivity.
“We understand that it is a sensitive matter. It must be handled with care in a responsible way that will ensure that the ANC remains an united organisation. I think everyone must calm down and give space to the NEC to handle this matter with that responsibility,” Lamola said.