By Ahmed Areff
Johannesburg – The Gauteng ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) have issued a statement on Tuesday calling on President Jacob Zuma to “do the right thing” to fix the political damage caused by the Nkandla matter.
The statement, however, stopped short of saying that it wanted to Zuma to step down as leader. This was despite a source telling News24 and ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile telling the Mail&Guardian that the PEC resolved that Zuma should step down.
“The PEC reiterated that the ANC has earned its leadership of society through the struggles and sacrifices of its members and supporters over generations,” it said in a statement.
“It is in that context that our President Comrade Jacob Zuma should reflect deeply and do the right thing to resolve the unprecedented crisis that the ANC currently faces, The ANC has never taken the support of our people for granted and was founded to defend and advance the rights of our people.”
There have been widespread calls for Zuma to resign following the Constitutional Court ruling that he failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action regarding payment for the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
After the judgment Zuma apologised for the Nkandla matter in a televised address to the nation.
The PEC said in its statement that it noted and accepted Zuma’s apology.
“However, the PEC believes that the apology is just the beginning of dealing with the political damage and mistrust caused by the mismanagement of the Nkandla matter,” it said.
“The PEC believes that the ANC has already paid a price during the 2014 elections, due to among others, the anger of the electorate about the matter. As the ANC we have to do a deeper introspection and take far-reaching decisions that will repair the damage to our image and to continue to enjoy the confidence and trust of our people.”
The ANC in Gauteng has, in the past, spoken out strongly against some decisions taken by the ruling party and its handling of some issues, such as e-tolls and the spending on Zuma’s Nkandla home.
Last week, deputy provincial chairperson David Makhura said the country was facing an economic and political crisis, and that members of the ANC needed to ask themselves whether the party was acting in the best interest of the nation.
“Many of us know that in history when the ANC was having meetings, we knew that the ANC would take the right decisions,” he said in a recording of his address given at the memorial service of Umkhonto we Sizwe veteran, Shirish Nanabhai.
“Many of us know that in history when the ANC was going to consider what next to do, we knew that the ANC would act in the best interest of the people and the country. We should ask ourselves… whether we can still say that today, and if we have any shadow of a doubt, there is a fundamental problem we must fix.” – News24