South Africa

Expectation builds outside Luthuli House ahead of Zexit update by ANC

By Bheki C. Simelane 13 February 2018

Tension has been building today around the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House ahead of the ANC's expected announcement on the progress of transition talks between President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. By BHEKI SIMELANE.

Makahambe, yena yini angafunu hamba?” (he must go, why is he refusing to go?) an elderly man says as he passes Luthuli House.

The ANC has called a press briefing to update the media on the outcome of “transition talks” between President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa .

Reporters are everywhere, and considering the uncertainty and high level of expectation that has gripped the nation in the past few days, every comment is welcome. Commuters travelling in taxis along Pixley Seme Street are not missing the opportunity to throw in a remark or two. “Kuyasha emzansi” (South Africa is burning), one commuter cries as he hangs from the window of a passing taxi.

Expectations are high. Most people expressed their anger at Zuma’s alleged refusal to step down.

Photo: 19 year-old Student Ayanda Mazolwane outside Luthuli House on Tuesday morning. Photo: Bheki Simelane

Student Ayanda Mazolwane, 19, says: “Cyril Ramaphosa can’t be selected as president and still act weak. Zuma is treating South Africans like his own personal property. I’m expecting the ANC to announce that they have recalled him as President. There is just no other way, the main issue right now is Zuma needs to go. He clearly wants a piece of the ANC as part of his retirement package. He has come to believe he owns the party. That he is the party and the party is him.”

Another Johannesburg student, 21-year-old Nhlanhla Mahlangu says: “He can’t stay, he should go. The man doesn’t know what he is doing. The one announcement I’m expecting the ANC to make is that they have recalled Mr Zuma and that he has agreed to leave within the stipulated timeline. Two terms at the helm, all we have experienced is corruption, mismanagement and cronyism.

“The ANC finds itself compromised because they have supported Zuma in the past number of votes of no confidence motions. I’d like any person who does wrong in this country to be treated like a criminal. There is overwhelming evidence against Zuma. We need an option, now. Perhaps it’s high time we review the presidents’ selection criteria. We would have had him gone long ago. We are being held at ransom by a political party that wants to please it’s member at the expense of the whole country. They are in a dilemma now.”

“I’ve just heard secretary General Ace Magashule has delivered a letter notifying Zuma of the NEC’s decision. It’s an interesting time in South African politics. It’s a turning point at which I’d like our leaders to lead the country for the progression of all,” Pretoria business consultant Bheki Nkomo says.

The nation has been kept in limbo for days as talks between Zuma and Ramaphosa seemed to take one step forward and two steps backwards. DM

File Photo: The entrance to Luthuli House. (Picture Siphiwe Sibeko Reuters)

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