Top African National Congress (ANC) leaders are expected to meet this weekend in the wake of the historic Constitutional Court ruling handed down this week.
On Thursday, the Constitutional Court (Concourt) handed down its ruling on the Nkandla matter. The court had examined whether or not President Zuma and the National Assembly should have complied with the Public Protector’s remedial action, and also clarified the powers of the Public Protector.
The court found that by failing to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action, Zuma had failed to uphold and defend the Constitution. The National Assembly also failed in the latter by exonerating Zuma and not holding him accountable for the non-security features that were added to his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Concourt ruling has been seen as a major blow for Zuma as well as the ruling party. The ANC, which has constantly defended its president and continues to do so, has a big task ahead of it in dealing with the fallout. However, South Africans who expect this to lead to Zuma’s impeachment may be disappointed, and should brace themselves for another two years with him at the helm.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says: “It’s unlikely that the top six meeting will come out with something fundamental, but it is likely that it may lead to the devising of a mechanism to guide the ANC leadership on how to approach the current crisis. So, by the time the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting comes around they will have guided parliament, the executive and the other role players on how to tackle the matter,” he says.
“The other option would be for the ANC to implement a remote approach in dealing with the issue. And that would mean that the party would have to approach a senior ANC veteran to speak to Zuma about leaving office. But before everyone starts getting too excited, that is highly unlikely to happen because the party’s top executives have also been implicated in the Concourt judgment.
“I doubt it will take one judgment to shatter the ANC, precisely because for too long the ANC has worked on a defiance path, that whenever there was an outcry they would stick by their leader. Some of the leaders are beholden to that and therefore will not easily turn around. And they are well aware that some of the people implicated are in the top leadership sector. For example, if you say parliament did not handle this well, you are speaking to the chairperson of the ANC,” he says.
Political parties are already gunning for Zuma’s impeachment, despite the fact that previous attempts have failed.
In a statement on Thursday, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) urged the ANC to recall Zuma. “Zuma cannot continue to be President of the Republic as this judgment means he is guilty of breaking his oath of office. He cannot continue to be entrusted with protecting the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. In fact, the people of South Africa must be protected from him.”
The party has also asked for parliament to be dissolved.
“The ANC must therefore come to its proper senses and fire the embarrassing President. He has no capacity to protect the constitution, our economy and certainly cannot be trusted with the resources of the people.
“Throughout his term of office, he has brought the country into disrepute and collapsed its economy, creating a hopeless society whilst his pockets and [those] of his family are filled with people’s monies,” the UDM said in a statement.