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Duarte: SACP's reaction to Cabinet reshuffle extremely strong

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte was speaking after a meeting between the ANC, SACP and Congress of South African Trade Unions at Luthuli House on Thursday.

President Jacob Zuma seated with the ANC NEC top 6, and leaders of the SACP and COSATU at an alliance council at Luthuli house. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says that statements from the South African Communist Party (SACP) that President Jacob Zuma’s latest Cabinet reshuffle is a declaration of war are extremely strong but refused to discuss the matter further.

She was speaking after a meeting between the ANC, SACP and Congress of South African Trade Unions at Luthuli House on Thursday.

At the top of the agenda were calls for the president to step down but Duarte says that they resolved to strengthen the alliance.

“Even if we have to meet again with the alliance intact, certainly that’s the spirit of the meeting. It’s not a meeting to dismantle the alliance, it’s a meeting to look at how we deal with the problems that we have and to strengthen the alliance.”

The meeting included Zuma, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, axed Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and the ANC’s top six.

During the meeting, the president seemed to be in a jovial mood, with Ramaphosa smiling at his side.

While it seemed that a cordial meeting was underway between all alliance members, the agenda had major topics to discuss, including calls for Zuma to step down.

Duarte said that the meeting went “extremely well”.

“Cosatu and the party have called for the president to step down, matters arising from the question of how the alliance works, whether the secretariat is working...”

She said that members listened to each other.

“There’s a good mood in the meeting, a mood of listening and raising issues very honestly and that’s very good.”

Duarte said the meeting was not about dismantling the alliance but strengthening it.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)