Ramaphosa gives clarity on Zuma’s removal


Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG- African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally spoken out regarding the discussions with State President Jacob Zuma over his removal from office.

Ramaphosa on Wednesday released a statement where he said the pair had direct discussions on Tuesday night on the transition and matters relating to Zuma’s position as the President of the Republic.

“The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people,” he said.

Late on Tuesday, the party also announced the postponement of a special National Executive Committee meeting that would have been used to discuss Zuma’s future. Ramaphosa said the postponement was due to the productiveness of the meeting with Zuma.

“On the basis of the progress made, it was agreed to postpone a special meeting of the ANC National Executive Committee that had been scheduled for later today (Wednesday). This will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude our discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in the coming days,” he said.

Ramaphosa said he was aware that the uncertainty surrounding the position of the Head of State and Government was a cause for concern among many South Africans. In what could be interpreted as a hint to Zuma’s exit, Ramaphosa said the process would provide unity once completed.

“I am certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country. We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma’s position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that while internal party squabbles have resulted in the postponement of the State of the Nation Address which was scheduled for Thursday, the work of government and Parliament would continue. Parliament announced the postponement on Tuesday following calls by opposition parties. They had vowed not to allow Zuma to deliver it. Parliament has also agreed on a date for a motion of no confidence debate in Zuma for later in February.

Ramaphosa said they were working towards giving South Africans closure.

“This is a challenging time for our country. Both President Zuma and myself are aware that our people want and deserve closure. The constructive process we have embarked on offers the greatest opportunity to conclude this matter without discord or division. Throughout this process, I am guided by the principle that the interests and needs of the South African people are paramount,” he said.