Sunday, September 21, 2008

Firing of Mbeki "act of political barbarity"

People are not happy. This is not the way to conduct a democracy. We cannot have factions within political parties deciding when to swap government leaders when it suits them.

Mbeki was elected to run the country for a full second term and, whether we like it or not, it is not for a handful of people to subvert the will of the people by forcing their positions on the country.

If the ANC thinks this is the end of the infighting then that is wishful thinking. The divisions will only become wider.

Had the ANC allowed Mbeki to see out his term, it would have gone a long way to placate his supporters but this act is a slap in the face to the Mbeki faction which they will not take lying down.

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Johannesburg - While the ANC said President Thabo Mbeki's agreement to resign on Saturday will help stabilise the country, some opposition parties and analysts expressed deep concerns for its ramifications for SA.

Addressing the media at the Esselen Park conference centre in Kempton Park on the East Rand, African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the decision to recall the president was taken "as an effort to heal and unite the African National Congress". (the presidency is not about the ANC!!)

The presidency later confirmed that Mbeki would resign. "The President has obliged and will step down after all constitutional requirements have been met," said presidential spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga.

Mantashe said the decision was a political way to deal with the implications of Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson's ruling that Mbeki may have been involved in a political conspiracy against ruling party leader Jacob Zuma. (let the courts decide, not politicians)

"The biggest worry of the ANC has been the question of a reversal of the closure of the chapter (that the Nicholson judgement seemed to have promised)." The National Prosecuting Authority's decision to appeal the judgment had become a worry, said Mantashe.

A point of division
"If pursued it will continue to be a point of division for the ANC."

"We share their (SA citizens) desire for stability and we believe our decision is in the interests of making that security".

However opposition parties said the decision could bring great instability into the country.

"ANC threatens to destabilise the entire country," said the Democratic Alliance's Helen Zille.

Freedom Front Plus's Pieter Mulder called the decision a "democratic coup" that "proves to the international community and the sensitive economic markets that there is instability in South Africa".

Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi said the decision represented "the biggest challenge to South Africa since apartheid"; while the United Democratic Movement's Bantu Holomisa said it was an act of "political barbarity that threatens to plunge the country into anarchy".

The country now faced "far reaching and uncertain constitutional and political complications for the country," said former SA president FW de Klerk.

Zille also raised concerns that the decision was an attempt to protect party president Jacob Zuma from possible prosecution on charges of fraud and corruption. (now we hit the crux of the matter. Zuma has gotten off)

Fears of instability
"Replacing President Mbeki with a Zuma proxy will open the way for them to ensure that he does not have to face a court of law," she said.

The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania said the ANC decision was "informed by its desire to pre-empt the appeal by the National Prosecuting Authority".

Some analysts, concurred with opposition parties' fears of instability for the country.

"It could create uncertainty and investors might lose confidence in the country," Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa), political analyst, Judith February said. She said the country could not afford an "exodus" of ministers.

"If a high number of senior civil servants together with ministers leave government, then we are likely to face a crisis," Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Steven Friedman.

However, political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke said while Mlambo-Ngcuka was likely to resign, a majority of Cabinet ministers were likely to stay.

"There is a distinction between threats made by those ministers and what they would actually do now that the decision (to recall Mbeki) had been made," he said.

'We cannot chain them to the process'
Earlier, Mantashe said ANC president Jacob Zuma would meet with ANC deployees in government to assure them that the ANC wished them to remain in government.

Mantashe said the party would respect the decision of Cabinet ministers who might choose to resign once Mbeki does so. "We cannot chain them to the process. We will respect their decisions."

Deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka's spokesperson Denzel Taylor said that Mlambo-Ngcuka would hand in her resignation if Mbeki handed in his.

The Cabinet is expected to meet with Mbeki on Sunday afternoon. Mantasha also said on Saturday that Mbeki was not shocked when he was told of the NEC decision. "He didn't display shock or any depression. He welcomed the news and agreed that he is going to participate in the process and the formalities."

He said Mbeki was not being punished and so would be "given space to participate in activities.

Up to Parliament
He said it was now up to Parliament to work out a formula to implement the decision. "We are quite patient for Parliament to develop a system." ANC deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise said Mbeki "would now do whatever he wants to do".

"He does have a responsibility to our neighbours which he will conclude," she said.

Mantashe was mum on who would take over from Mbeki. "The person in charge is Mbeki until he resigns because we don't create ruptures and we don't appoint a president on top of another president."

On Saturday, the Foreign Affairs department said Mbeki would no longer attend the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. Instead Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would head the delegation.

Mbeki became president in 1999, taking over from Nelson Mandela. He was the head of the ANC from 1997 until he lost a battle for power at the ANC's national conference in Polokwane in December 2007, when Zuma, his former deputy president, became the head of the organisation.

3 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Of course everybody seems to miss one tiny little detail here in this whole mess, namely that Mbeki is from a leading Xhosa tribe, whereas Zuma is a Zulu. It's the old African story all over again, just plain old tribal warfare. It's the same in Zimbabwe. It would be wise for 'non-Xhosas" and 'non-Zulu's, to stay well away from this mess. The ANC is losing an awful lot of credibility in the process but it won't matter to the assholes who will keep voting for this corrupt gang. Everything will still be voted for along tribal lines, as always.

Anonymous said...


Mbeki live on SA TV at 19.30 pm


Radio 702's Eyewitness News spoke to residents in Soweto who say President Thabo Mbeki fell on his own sword.

They say he must face the repercussions of his own actions because he began a war when he fired Jacob Zuma as the country’s deputy president.
21 Sep 2008 17:24

MBEKI MEETS CABINET 21 Sep 2008 17:20

Mbeki was due to host a special reception at the United Nations in New York for him next week, saying farewell and urging the international community to support the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Now Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will have to do the job.

There’s been an eerie official silence from world capitals on South Africa’s political blood letting.

Ambassadors in Pretoria say their leaders are waiting to see exactly how the process of President Thabo Mbeki’s stepping down plays out and who warms the seat for Jacob Zuma.



Steers owner in hospital after armed attack in Josi CBD:

A 55-five year old fast food outlet owner has been shot and wounded in an attempted robbery in the Johannesburg city centre.
Three men, one armed with a pistol, stormed into the Steers on Noord Street on Sunday and demanded money.
The owner was shot in the chest during a struggle with one of the robbers.
The police's Johan du Toit says the trio is still on the run.

Policeman shot dead at Randfontein police station:

A policeman has been shot dead at the Randfontein Police Station, in western Johannesburg on Sunday.

It is understood an unknown man walked in to the station and gunned down one of the officers on duty.

Details of what happened are still sketchy at this and it's unclear if the gunman was arrested or fled the scene.

Over 300 try to invade, occupy State-land site:

A group of over 300 people have gathered on Lansdowne Road, next to the Fezeka Municipal Buildings to start building homes for themselves.
The community have tried twice before to occupy the State-owned land and were driven away at gunpoint by the police and metro cops.

Anti Eviction Campaign’s Mncedisi Twalo says the people are squatters from Nyanga, Langa and Gugulethu who are fed-up with government's lack of service delivery.

Twalo says people have vowed to go to the land every day and try to erect their shacks, until they succeed in getting the right to live on the land permanently.


Anonymous said...

@ anon 1:36..

You are spot on. I wrote about the Zulu/Xhosa divide a few months ago and predicted that the age old animosities would reappear once a Xhosa was no longer in charge. The Zulu are the largest grouping in SA and they've been playing second fiddle to the Xhosas for too long. Now that has changed.

While they had whitey as a common enemy everything was cosy but now that isn't the case and the 1000 year old rivalry will resume.