Motlanthe: President Zuma no longer commands respect

The former president was speaking to Bloomberg on Monday on South Africa’s recent downgrade to junk status by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s Global.

FILE: Former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Former President Kgalema Motlanthe says it would be best for President Jacob Zuma to step down as he has lost all respect a leader should have.

Motlanthe was speaking to Bloomberg on Monday on South Africa’s recent downgrade to junk status by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s Global.

On Monday, the agency downgraded the country to BBB minus, citing political instability as a major factor.

The local currency has already begun to react, losing about 3% between yesterday and this morning.

The currency is expected to get weaker should agencies Fitch and Moody’s decide to downgrade.

Motlanthe says Zuma does not have a lot in his favour.

“The highest court in the land has judged him to have breached his oath of office and I think that in itself makes it difficult for him to command the kind of respect which would be able to rally and unite the various sections of the South African population.”

Meanwhile, the South African Communist Party (SACP) says Members of Parliament who belong to the African National Congress (ANC) caucus in Parliament must not wait for opposition parties to raise the issue of removing Zuma, but must do the right thing themselves now.

The party’s already said Zuma has to leave to office after his Cabinet reshuffle that removed Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister.

The SACP is now actually strengthening its language against Zuma and effectively calling for ANC MPs to decide to vote against their own leader.

Deputy General-Secretary Solly Mapaila says: “We can’t be protecting corruption and be protecting irrational decision making by the president.

“The ANC must raise the motion itself and not wait for opposition parties. It’s part of the thing they must raise openly.”

On Monday, the SACP’s central committee discussed how it will execute a plan to effectively oust Zuma.

But this would appear to really put more pressure on Zuma and could lead to massive divisions in the ANC’s caucus when and if that meets in the near future.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)