Magashule: No need to panic over Zuma

In an unexpected move last night, the ANC cancelled the meeting of the party’s highest decision making body which was expected to recall President Jacob Zuma.

FILE: African National Congress secretary-general Ace Magashule. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) is appealing to South Africans not to panic amid much confusion and uncertainty about President Jacob Zuma's political future.

The party has postponed its special national executive committee (NEC) meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday in Cape Town which was expected to recall President Zuma.

But it's reported that the president stood firm, outlining conditions for his departure during a meeting with Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete had announced that the State of the Nation Address scheduled for Thursday would not go ahead.

“Don't panic”, that's essentially the message from the ANC as the country tries to sift through all the information coming in thick and fast about Zuma's future.

And it's this confusion and what some have lamented as the ANC's lack of better handling on this political crisis that has led to many unconfirmed reports and retractions.

The party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule appealed to South Africans late on Tuesday night.

“We’re just saying to ANC members throughout the country, the leadership of the ANC throughout the structures of the ANC at all levels and as well as South Africans, we’ll handle this matter with absolute responsibility and there’s no need for panic.”

At the same time, the ANC is confident that Ramaphosa is handling all matters surrounding Zuma's expected departure from office and has asked South Africans to be confident in his leadership.

Twice on Tuesday, the Presidency had to issue statements in a bid to quell rampant rumours and the spread of sometimes unconfirmed reports.

And it's for this reason that the ANC has now stepped up pleading for calm and that they will take the lead from Ramaphosa.

He held a meeting with Zuma on Tuesday after which the ruling party said that the talks would continue.

COUNTRY ON TENTERHOOKS

There’s a sense of confusion and uncertainty and really a country on tenterhooks.

It all started with that announcement by the Mbethe that the State of the Nation Address had been postponed after an agreement between the House and the president.

“We’ve since looked realistically at the developments and we thought that we need to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in Parliament,” Mbete said.

This move was seen as a major victory for the opposition who had demanded that Zuma not deliver the address.

While the country was digesting that shock announcement, Zuma held a meeting with Ramaphosa where the ANC says the two agreed on the postponement and discussed other issues.

As far as clarity on Zuma’s future is concerned, well that’s anyone’s guess.