‘Zuma resigning was a high expectation’

The president apologised to the nation adding it was not his intention to violate the Constitution.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As the country recovers from a busy political week some analysts say it was too high an expectation to expect President Jacob Zuma to step down.

Yesterday, Zuma addressed the country saying he accepted the Constitutional Court's order for him to repay a portion of the money spent on upgrades to his private residence.

He apologised to the nation adding it was not his intention to violate the Constitution.

Meanwhile, political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe says Zuma resigning was a high expectation.

"People have become prisoners of their own wishes and of the narrative that they've created. So it doesn't matter what he says it will not be enough."

While another analyst Professor Lesiba Teffo says Zuma's address was dishonest.

"It was premature to expect him to resign but behind the scenes I think people are working on that. I wouldn't be suprised if in a week or so that an announcement that may lend itself to dignity and some form or respect can be arranged for him."

Meanwhile, the FW de Klerk Foundation says while it's noted Zuma's apology, it doesn't believe it's sufficient.

The foundation's Dave Steward said, "We appreciate the fact that he acknowledges the role of the court and of the public protector. However, we don't think it's sufficient for the president to repay only R11 million or whatever it may turn out to be."

WATCH: Zuma: I never set out to violate the Constitution


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

Kathrada wrote 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 said 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 said while he had maintained a position not to attack or speak out in public about internal ANC matters or any leader, he found 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 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 said 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.

He said he could continue to relate to a president who has been unanimously found to have failed to uphold and defend the Constitution.

WATCH: Treasury creating team to determine Zuma's Nkandla bill


Yesterday, opposition parties reacted with disappointment to Zuma's announcement.

EFF leader Julius Malema said opposition parties will still hold the ANC to account and will monitor the ruling party closely.

"We have given them a long rope to hang themselves and we are monitoring every step they take. We know what they are doing next and as a result we will attend to them."

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said it was a completely empty statement from a broken president.

"It's an embarrassment to listen to a president justify actions that are illegal and seek to justify the facts in a manner that he has today. It's deeply disappointing and now it has become clear Jacob Zuma has no understanding of the Constitution. All of us as South Africans must hold him to account."

Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Richard Calland said while Zuma's address last night was a big moment, his apology was a mere formality.

"He was required to apologise, this was not him doing so willingly. Politically the tide is turning against him and effectively the Constitutional Court asked him to do so."

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the ANC avoided recalling Zuma to avoid appearing to bow down to pressure from opposition parties.

"In essence, that is the response to say if we create a president and follow what the opposition is demanding, then we will be under attack and might lead to us being diminished."

Read the full text of President Zuma's speech here.

Read the full text of Ahmed Kathrada's speech here.