Gauteng ANC to meet over Zuma ConCourt ruling today

The party’s PEC will meet to discuss the ConCourt judgment against Zuma & calls for him to resign.

Gauteng ANC Provincial Chairperson Paul Mashatile during a voter registration campaign at TUT. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng says its Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) will meet today to discuss the Constitutional Court judgment against President Jacob Zuma and calls for him to resign.

The Gauteng ANC PEC discussions follow a call by the ANC's Gwede Mantashe for the party's structures to debate Zuma's fate.

This weekend, ANC Gauteng Chairman Paul Mashatile took part in door-to-door visits in the City of Tshwane.

Mashatile says today's PEC meeting will tackle the difficult questions and assess the way forward.

"If people have particular views, they will tell us."

He says other structures also need to be consulted.

"PEC of the ANC will meet on Monday in Gauteng to discuss the issues and then start the process to allow the branches to engage."

Mashatile says volunteers conducting door-to-door campaigning have been told not to discuss the Nkandla saga with prospective voters.

"With members of the ANC and the volunteers I'm with, we've indicated to them that those issues will have an organised way to be discussed."

Last week Mashatile's deputy, David Makhura, said the judgment is a setback for the ANC and fundamental issues need to be addressed.

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The ANC has lost some supporters' confidence and could totally lose them if it does not deal with discontent with Zuma, an ANC official said on Sunday.

The ANC has been in damage control mode since the country's highest court ruled that Zuma failed to uphold the constitution by ignoring an order to repay some of the R246 million in state funds spent renovating his home.

The party, which came to power after toppling white apartheid rule in 1994, crushed an opposition bid to impeach Zuma last week but has faced rising calls, including from some of its veteran members, to remove him.

"It is not the Constitutional Court judgement that is the issue. The issue is the trust deficit that has developed, with people beginning to trust us less and less and less and less," ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Sunday.

Speaking at the anniversary of the 1993 killing of anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani, Mantashe defended the ANC's rejection of the impeachment drive against Zuma, saying to do otherwise would have served the opposition's agenda.

"But it doesn't absolve us from looking into our own behaviour. There must be change in our behaviour as a movement," he added. "If we don't change our behaviour, we become arrogant in dealing with our problems. We are going to pay the price."

Mantashe spoke as residents in poor townships vowed to boycott August local government elections out of anger that the ANC has done little to improve their lives, dashing the hopes that accompanied Nelson Mandela's inauguration as South Africa's first black president two decades ago.

Zuma's own presidency has been riddled with controversy. Most recently, his close ties with the wealthy Gupta family have come under scrutiny after the deputy finance minister said the Indian-born family had influenced the sudden firing of his former boss in December.

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The board of the Nelson Mandela Foundation says it wants to meet with the ANC's top brass to discuss what it calls systemic problems.

Concerns raised by ANC veterans like Ahmed Kathrada and Trevor Manuel, as well as civil society groups and religious leaders have put pressure on the governing party to take action.

Despite Zuma's apology, many say this is simply not enough.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation's Sello Hatang says they want to assist the ANC in dealing with the public outcry.

"In the past we've engaged the ANC, so this won't be a need. What we've offered is in line with our mandate at the time of our formation by Nelson Mandela to continue dialogue on difficult social issues."

Additional reporting by Reuters.