JOHANNESBURG - The Save South Africa campaign on Tuesday accused the ANC of 'blatant abuse of power', saying the party has used the indefinite postponement of SONA to allow for its internal processes to unfold.
The group expressed its concern on Thursday, about what it calls “the veil of secrecy surrounding negotiations to secure the urgent and long-overdue departure of President Jacob Zuma.”
Uncertainty surrounds Zuma’s fate after the State of the Nation Address was postponed, and after the ANC cancelled a special National Executive Committee meeting to discuss his fate.
The information coming from the ANC has been vague.
On Wednesday, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa issued a statement that he and Zuma had held a constructive meeting.
Ramaphosa acknowledged that uncertainty plaguing the country and said he is “certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns but unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country.”
Save SA, which is a campaign made up NGOs, civil society groups and a number of ANC veterans, said in a statement that the nation has been reduced to spectators in the determination of Zuma’s fate.
“The idea that a weighty matter of national interest should be the subject of a protracted series of private and confidential discussions exclusively within the hierarchy of the ANC is an affront to our constitutional order,” said Save SA convener Sipho Pityana.
“[A] negotiation of the kind being conducted now requires that citizens are shown respect, and are made aware of what is being discussed. We need assurance that accountability and respect for the Constitution and the law are respected.
“A litany of statements from those in high office that makes fools of us as citizens must be rejected: Parliament’s presiding officers provide flimsy excuses to deny a legitimate request by the opposition parties for a debate of a motion of no confidence prior to SONA.
“When the ANC fails to persuade Mr Zuma to leave on time for a new and more credible President to deliver this address, the presiding officers, on the unbelievable pretext of avoiding threatened protests, decide to cancel the SONA.”
Pityana said South Africans must reject the ANC's behaviour with contempt.
“Mr Ramaphosa appears to have fallen into the trap of embarking on confidential negotiations with a President who is clearly unwanted by the people of South Africa (including the vast majority in his own party), and who thrives on backdoor deals and covert arrangements.”
Save SA urged Ramaphosa to step in, saying that letting Zuma out the backdoor with a number of compromises, is not only bad for the ANC leader but for South Africa as it erodes public confidence.
“Mr Ramaphosa should know better, and be aware that the perception is already forming that he is replicating the arrogance and covert operations of Zuma’s ANC, in full public display.
“It is an ominously bad start for the new leadership of the movement, and it must be stopped."