Johannesburg – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday morning moved to encourage unity in the face of criticism of the ANC’s failure to recall President Jacob Zuma.
While the party was under fire after its announcement on Tuesday that its investigation into allegations of state capture by the Guptas had fizzled out, Ramaphosa focused on the recent chaos in Parliament arising from the conflict.
He emphasised the work done by Parliament and its role in holding the executive to account, but pleaded for political tolerance following violent clashes.
“Recent events in Parliament are a grave cause for concern,” said Ramaphosa.
“The efforts of a small minority of MPs to impose, through force and intimidation, their will on Parliament reflects a contempt for the principles of democracy.”
He said the conflicts undermined the executive’s ability to account to Parliament, preventing Zuma from addressing the House.
“Members of the executive will remain open to constructive criticism, robust debate and strong oversight.
“We will continue to seek to resolve our differences and problems through dialogue and collaboration,” he said.
On Tuesday political analysts said the ANC lacked the political will and courage to recall Zuma because he had the party in his clutches, despite the many blunders and scandals associated with him.
And the ANC is projecting Zuma’s blunders as minimal as a “political calculation” to strengthen the party ahead of the local government elections.
This is after it emerged yesterday that Zuma had again come out unscathed at the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Pretoria at the weekend. A damning Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla and allegations of state capture by Zuma’s controversial business friends, the Guptas, appeared to threaten his career.
On Tuesday, however, the ANC said its branches had overwhelmingly affirmed the decision of the national working committee not to recall Zuma.
On the allegations of state capture, the ANC said an investigation was a “fruitless exercise” as only one in eight complainants was prepared to give a written submission.
Political analyst Professor Tinyiko Maluleke said the message was now clear that Zuma was not going anywhere.
“The ANC NEC does not have the courage or sufficient consensus to take any decisive action,” Maluleke said.
“The attempt to investigate the allegations of Gupta state capture through the secretary-general’s office seems to have failed dismally, and that should worry the party.”
Another analyst, Professor Susan Booysen, said while she did not expect the party to turn against Zuma, the outcome of the NEC meeting meant “Zuma is now firmly in control of the party”.
She said the ANC projected Zuma’s missteps as minimal.
“There may be differences in the party but Zuma’s grouping is in charge,” she said.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said branches had stressed the importance of unity and that accepting the president’s apology must contribute to that unity.
“As we accept the apology, we also remind ourselves that we should devise a formula for dealing with the mistakes we are committing,” he said.
However, he called the allegations of state capture serious and urged party members to submit complaints to the SAPS, the auditor-general or the public protector