Clash outside ANC headquarters over Zuma

Monday February 5 2018

Supporters of the African National Congress

Supporters of the African National Congress Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa hold placards and chant slogans outside the ANC party headquarter in Johannesburg, on February 5, 2018, during a demonstration to protest against South African President and ANC member Jacob Zuma. AFP PHOTO | MARCO LONGARI 

By PETER DUBE
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Opposing groups on Monday clashed outside the African National Congress (ANC) Luthuli House headquarters, in Johannesburg over President Jacob Zuma’s future.

Members of the groups, waving placards, exchanged strong words.

The one behind the #HandsOffZuma campaign had gathered outside Luthuli House to hand over a memorandum to the party’s leadership, warning it against ousting the embattled leader.

Another group, hoisting #ZumaMustGo placards, rubbished the memorandum saying they would go all out to defend the party.

There was a heavy police presence outside the South Africa ruling party’s headquarters.

A pro-Zuma supporter said it would be risky to recall the president before his second term ends next year.

“We had a serious split the last time we recalled Thabo Mbeki and we’re not ready for another split, especially ahead of such a crucial election. So, we are saying the ANC should not recall President Zuma,” said Mr Thabisani Mabhena.

The Black First Land First (BLF), a pro-Zuma political party, said ousting the president would cause confusion in the country and may lead to a civil war in KwaZulu-Natal (Zuma's home province).

But a supporter of the so-called #ZumaMustGo campaign, Ms Lele Sekete, said the march was undermining the ANC.

“Ours is to defend our property which is Luthuli House, but these ones that are coming here, we will be ready for them,” she said.

Those who want the president to go have threatened to shut down the country if he does not heed the party leadership's calls.

The party’s top officials had an emergency meeting with President Zuma on Sunday night where new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly asked him to step down.

Prior to the meeting, the party’s treasurer-general, Mr Paul Mashatile, said the president must step down to avoid creating two centres of power in the country. Media reports said President Zuma has refused to step down.

Meanwhile, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule confirmed that President Zuma would deliver the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

However, opposition parties were adamant that he should not deliver the Sona and have written to the Speaker of Parliament requesting a postponement until impeachment proceedings were finalised.

President Zuma faces another motion of no-confidence on February 22.