If President Jacob Zuma does not resign‚ the ANC will remove him through Parliament‚ finance minister Malusi Gigaba has said.
Zuma should ideally relinquish his position as head of state voluntarily‚ Gigaba told host Bianna Golodryga on CNN’s Quest Means Business show on Tuesday night. However‚ Gigaba said the party would not hesitate to use a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly to remove Zuma.
“I think what we expect now is that the deadline which has been set for the president by the national executive committee is for tomorrow [Wednesday]. We expect that … he is going to do the right thing‚ as the NEC expects. The secretary-general [Ace Magashule] was very clear that we expect of the cadres of the ANC to do the right thing when called upon‚ as president Mbeki did in 2008‚” Gigaba said.
“If that doesn’t happen‚ the NEC has put in mechanisms to address that situation. There is an ANC caucus [Wednesday] in the national parliament where members of the ANC will deliberate on the issue and plan the way forward.
“It’s going to take place an hour after president Zuma would have addressed the nation at 10am‚ so we would know by then what’s the course of direction we’re going to take. But‚ surely‚ should he continue to refuse‚ should he refuse‚ we would then have to resort on a parliamentary process that‚ with a 62% majority and the support of other opposition parties‚ we are certain to pass.”
The ANC confirmed on Tuesday that its NEC had resolved to recall Zuma – following a 13-hour meeting that started on Monday afternoon and lasted into Tuesday morning. The recall echoes a scenario that ultimately saw former president Thabo Mbeki resigning from office in 2008.
Asked whether he supported the call for Zuma to go‚ Gigaba said: “Of course‚ we all support the view that the president needs to step down – and to step down immediately – to allow the new leadership to manage the transition process. So I’m fully supportive of the measures that are undertaken‚ particularly because they are going to bring about much-required political certainty and policy certainty that we need to get the South African economy growing beyond the levels at which it’s growing at the present moment.”
Gigaba also confirmed that there was no change in plans for the annual budget speech to be delivered next week – whether Zuma is president or not.
“We’ve already seen positive indicators in the economy: the bond yields reducing‚ we’ve seen the rand strengthening against the dollar‚ we’ve also seen a number of other factors‚ including declining unemployment. All of those are positive signals that big decisions taken by the new leadership in four weeks‚ which indicate we are living through a very significant transition that will augur well for the people of South Africa.”
Gigaba said he was confident that the government had done enough to stave off another ratings downgrade.