SA Churches: ANC Top 4 ‘wrestling’ over Zuma resignation calls

By Lizeka Tandwa

Johannesburg – Four of the top six in the ANC are pained and wrestling in the face of mounting pressure for President Jacob Zuma to resign, the South African Church Council (SACC) general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana told journalist on Friday.

The National Religious Leaders Council, along with the SACC, met with four national ANC leaders and pleaded with them to aid Zuma’s resignation. Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa were not at the meeting.

South Africa's President and African National Congress (ANC) party president Jacob Zuma, flanked by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Treasury General Zweli Mkhize, reacts ahead of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) three-day meeting in Pretoria, South Africa March 18, 2016. Picture taken March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
African National Congress (ANC) Top Four

“We need to appreciate that this is not an easy call to make. We could feel and sense the pain within the ANC delegation because they are wrestling with the same issue… We recognised that much of our own congregations are also members of ANC, the pain is felt across the board.

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“From the representation of the leadership that was there, we were welcomed in a warm way… They were not able to respond directly, but they acknowledged that they heard the call… We made assurance of saying the ANC leadership must assist his resignation. He must resign, he must not be seen as forced to resign,” he said.

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein said the ANC needed to realise that the religious leaders represented more than 80% of South Africans.

“We are speaking on behalf of a wide spectrum of faith communities in South Africa which represents easily, if not upwards of, 80%… All religious leaders are hearing from our constituents, these are not our personal views. The call for the resignation of the president is the plea,” Goldstein told journalists.

Mpumlwana said he had received urgent calls from church leaders to make the call for Zuma to resign. “I have been receiving very urgent calls to heads of the churches to make this call… We (church leaders) will be meeting again next week to review and take stock,” he said.

Read also: SA Churches unanimous – President Jacob Zuma must resign, honour ConCourt

In a statement, the ANC said it appreciated the candor of the religious leaders and found the meeting very useful.

“We have agreed on the need for further engagement with the religious sector. The ANC reaffirms its commitment and invitation to all sectors of society wishing to engage the ANC on the challenges currently facing the country with an interest to overcoming them,” it said.

The calls for Zuma to resign have increased following the Constitutional Court’s ruling that he had failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action regarding payment for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

The call has come from opposition parties, civil society, some ANC members and party veterans, such as Ahmed Kathrada, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus and uMkhonto weSizwe veteran Mavuso Msimang. – News24