Ahmed Kathrada wants Zuma to step down

Kathrada has written what he calls an agonising letter, saying he was left with no choice but to speak out.

FILE: Ahmed Kathrada. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada has penned a letter asking President Jacob Zuma to step down following the Constitutional Court ruling over the Nkandla scandal.

Kathrada has written what he calls an agonising letter to Zuma, saying he was left with no choice but to break tradition and speak out, even after remaining silent when public money was spent on the president's home.

Kathrada says at first he didn't speak out about Nkandla although he thought it wrong to have spent public money for any president's private comfort.

The 86-year-old says while he has maintained a position not to attack or speak out in public about internal ANC matters or any leader, he finds it appropriate to express his discontent about the president's ability to lead the people of South Africa.

"I have always maintained a position of not speaking out publicly about any differences I may harbour against my leaders and my organisation, the African National Congress (ANC).

"I would only have done so when I thought that some important organisational matters compel me to raise my concerns."

Kathrada has warned Zuma that his outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle will be severely tarnished if the remainder of his presidency continues to be plagued by a growing public loss of confidence in the ANC and government as a whole.

Kathrada says he thought the ANC national executive committee would deal with the accusations around state capture and that he grew increasingly worried when former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was removed from his position by Zuma.

Kathrada says he cannot continue to relate to a president who has been unanimously found to have failed to uphold and defend the Constitution.


At the same time political analysts have turned the spotlight on the ANC, saying it's now up to the party to decide on how it will further deal with the matter.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says Zuma's apology is likely to still be highly contested.

"The same narrative will go to Parliament as it is likely to be much contested in a way."

Constitutional law expert Richard Calland says all eyes are now on the ANC to see what it will do next.

"Unfortunately, he has too many schemes in the game so to speak to abandon ship at this point, he will have to be pushed by the party."