Johannesburg, April 5, 2017 (Reuters/NAN)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) backed President Jacob Zuma after calls for his resignation from various groups after he dismissed a respected finance minister.
ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday that the party had accepted the “irretrievable breakdown of the relationship” between Zuma and former finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as the reason Gordhan was sacked, a move that deepened a rift within the ruling party.
NAN reports that South Africa’s largest trade union confederation on Tuesday joined the ranks of Zuma’s critics and called on him to step down.
Traditionally an ally to Zuma’s African National Congress party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said it no longer trusted Zuma’s leadership.
COSATU said it became worried about Zuma,s leadership after his decision to sack finance minister Pravin Gordhan prompted the rating agency Standard and Poor’s to downgrade the country’s sovereign credit rating to junk status.
Speaking at a press conference, COSATU Secretary General Bheki Ntshalintshali said that Zuma was no longer the “right person” to lead the country.
“The time has arrived for the president to step down.
“We no longer believe in his leadership qualities,” he said.
NAN reports that on March 30, Leader of a South African opposition party, Julius Malema, filed for disciplinary or impeachment proceedings against Zuma in a court application.
Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said the application to the Constitutional Court would seek to order the Speaker of Parliament to institute the action against Zuma.
He said the filing was linked to a decision by the Constitutional Court in March 2016, when it ordered Zuma to return some of the 16 million dollars spent on enhancing his residence at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Zuma has since has taken out a home loan to repay some of the state money.
The ultra-left EFF party said in a statement the Nkandla saga “renders him (Zuma) unfit to hold the high office of President.”
NAN recalls that the case was brought by the EFF and the Democratic Alliance.
The court ruled Zuma violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.
It gave the treasury 60 days to determine how much he should repay.
The ruling is a victory for the opposition, who said they would push for Zuma’s impeachment.
They accused him of using “ill-gotten wealth” to upgrade his home with a swimming pool and amphitheatre.
Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.