Mantashe faces media: ANC press conference post Zuma announcement

Highlights from ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe’s statement:

ANC welcomes the well written, balanced Constitutional Court judgment which reinforces that this body remains the anchor of the country. The President and the National Assembly will adhere to its instructions.

African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

We welcome and appreciate the apology by the President to the nation. The balanced ConCourt judgement does not give rise to the call for impeachment. This is an overreaction from the opposition parties.

We interpret the call from the opposition forces to “do the right thing” and fire Zuma as a call to tear the ANC apart. We don’t think it makes sense to stand in corners and shout at each other. We would like to sit across the table and engage with everyone.

The ANC will hold an extended National Working Committee meeting on Monday. On Tuesday we will be talking to the ANC Parliamentary caucus. And after that speaking to members around the country. We’ll also be meeting with various members of society in coming weeks. We see engagement as important. We have an obligation to deal with issues in detail and not act emotionally.

In a democracy like ours, when there are conflicting views in society the judiciary will be called on as the final arbiter. We ask our cadres to close ranks and serve the people of South Africa.

Responses in Q&A:

  • The Top Six decision on Zuma was unanimous.
  • The tweet from Julius Malema that there was a call for Zuma to resign is manufactured.
  • Our previous experience (when recalling Mbeki) tore the ANC apart. It would be a sick organisation that would take such action because opposition parties are calling for it.
  • We are calling on all sectors of society who are unhappy to engage with us. When we sit across the table and listen to what they have to say we will understand why they are unhappy.
  • The President apologised to the nation on behalf of himself and Government. We are comfortable with the fact that he humbled himself and has apologised.
  • The EFF and DA asked the ConCourt specifically for a declaratory order for impeachment. The court did not make that declaratory order – there is a distinction between that and how far the court has gone. The opposition parties will interpret the judgement as though that declaratory order was made, which was not done.
  •  Is Jacob Zuma a liability? The difference between the ANC and many parties is that we do not have a party that revolves around a leader. We are not a party which revolves around a leader.
  • The reason we say we will respect the judgement is because South Africa is a Constitutional Democracy. We do not act on who shouts loudest.
  • We should remember that South Africa has elections every two and a half years – local elections; and then provincial and national elections. So the people have the right to express themselves often. This is unusual in an international sense.
  • The ANC is the most democratic party in South Africa – people express their views within the ANC. Even when unhappy they do not leave, they remain in the organisation all the time; if there are problems we come together and be part of the solution, we don’t stand and shout at the organisation.
  • The ANC believes that over Nkandla there was no deliberate intention by Zuma to act inconsistently with the Constitution.
  • Re the threat of the EFF to stop Zuma speaking in Parliament: there are rules, Parliament will have to deal with that matter.
  • We will engage with our people, we are guided by the thinking of the many ANC stalwarts. We are not a party of saints. We are a party of human beings, They will make mistakes. It is our duty and responsibility to go to the communities and explain whatever mistakes we have made. We will be doing that in the next week.
  • People are responding to the call for members of the ANC to engage on the Gupta saga. The “numbers are not in hundreds or thousands”, but people have responded.
  • The ANC’s local elections manifesto will be unveiled in Port Elizabeth on April 16th.
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