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ANC: Call for Zuma to step down a ‘necessary discussion’

The ANC's Jessie Duarte says President Jacob Zuma was happy that the call for him to step down was made as it would clarify issues.

FILE: ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) says President Jacob Zuma believes the call that was made for him to step down was a necessary discussion.

The party has briefed the media on the outcome of its national executive committee (NEC) meeting.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the NEC rejected a call that was raised in the meeting for the president to step down.

ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte says President Jacob Zuma was happy that the call for him to step down was made as it would clarify issues.

She says that as the president closed the NEC meeting, he indicated that the discussion was good.

“Because it enabled us to look at a number of issues that may have been discussed in corridors, put on the table, dealt with and we are able to move forward and move on.”

She says the call for the president to step down didn’t have sufficient support.

The NEC says it affirms Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC and the country.

Duarte adds that most of the issues were around what she described as the ‘negative narrative’ towards the president.

“The negative atmosphere raised around issues which the president’s name comes to the fore with is primarily raised by our position. Every issue raised either by the opposition or by the media.”

While they did not say which issues exactly the NEC members raised—it’s undertook the Nkadla issue, spy tapes and the president’s relationship with the Gupta family were raised and linked to the party’s electoral decline at the polls.

WATCH: ANC NEC's position on Zuma unwavering

At the same time, the ANC’s Mantashe says NEC members who made calls for President Zuma to step down were within their rights to do so and says they won't be treated differently.

Mantashe was briefing the media earlier today on the outcome of the NEC meeting.

It was announced at the briefing that the NEC rejected calls for the president to step down as they didn’t receive sufficient support.

The secretary general says the call for the president to step down wasn't limited to ministers but was discussed by almost all the party’s NEC members.

He says those who raised the issue should have no fear.

“Nobody will be treated in a different way because he or she raised an issue in the NEC meeting. I cannot work that way, and it will not be allowed to happen.”

He says the call for the president to step down was debated openly with those supporting it and against it stating their cases.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)