'Zuma apology a strategic move by ANC'
Professor Sipho Seepe said Zuma’s apology was a strategic move by the African National Congress.
JOHANNESBURG - While opposition parties, political commentators, civil society groups and ordinary South Africans continue to raise their displeasure at President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC), one analyst says Zuma's speech was a strategic move by the ANC.
On Friday, the president addressed the country, saying he welcomes the Constitutional Court's findings on the Nkandla saga and that never intended to fail to comply with the remedial action proposed in the Public Protector's report.
This comes after Zuma was found guilty of violating the Constitution by the highest court in the land.
The ANC said it appreciates his apology to the nation for the confusion and frustration caused by the Nkandla saga.
Professor Sipho Seepe said Zuma's apology was a strategic move by the ANC.
"It doesn't matter how much you try to spin this one, the damage is done and it has been done in a very profound way. And I'd even go further and say I wonder if it is the ANC that can save itself from itself."
The FW de Klerk Foundation also believes Zuma's apology is not sufficient and that he shouldn't only have to pay back what they call a "mere" portion of the R246 million in state funds spent on renovations at Nkandla.
The foundation's Dave Steward said, "The question at the heart of this is why was it possible for the state to approve the expenditure of R246 million under any circumstances. It's unacceptable in a country where the same amount of money could provide housing for literally tens and thousands of South Africans."
KATHRADA PENS A LETTER TO ZUMA
At the same time, Anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada said he cannot continue to relate to a president who has been unanimously found to have failed to uphold and defend the Constitution.
Kathrada has released what he calls an "agonising" letter to Zuma, calling on Zuma to submit to the will of the people and resign.
The ANC said it will not comment on a letter addressed to the presidency.
Kathrada said he has been left with no choice but to speak out against Zuma, saying only his resignation will help the country out of the current crisis, not an apology.
Foundation director Neeshan Balton said the letter was sent to the president on Friday afternoon and the only reply was a note of receipt.
"Mr Kathrada was acting in the interst of the country and believes it will best for the country if the president can step down."
Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said voters should decide if they accept Zuma's apology instead of his resignation.
"If they do, then they'll vote for the party if the president leaves. But if he doesn't leave then they're going to vote for another party."
De Vos said Zuma was dishonest when he said he had always intended to pay back the money spent on his Nkandla home and it's strange for him to make the claim during his apology to the nation.
ANC UNITED BEHIND ZUMA
Amid this, the ANC said it is willing to apologise to the nation following a Constitutional Court judgment that found Zuma to have acted in an inconsistent manner to the highest law of the land, but does not believe it is obliged to do so.
The party has responded following the judgment on Thursday which found that Zuma and Parliament failed to uphold, respect and defend the Constitution through his handling of the Nkandla scandal.
The ANC has also come out in support of Zuma, saying it appreciates his apology and believes neither he nor Parliament intended to break their oaths.
The party's Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said the top six were unanimous in their response to the Constitutional Court's judgment.
Mantashe said the ruling party is willing to apologise if there is a need to do so.
"The ANC is willing to offer an apology, if we're called upon to do that, we'll do it."