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For the sake of SA, ANC must remove Zuma




The full media briefing – the chief rabbi speaks between seven and ten
minutes into the video and runs out at the end to prepare for Shabbos

President Jacob Zuma had “lost the moral legitimacy to govern this country,” Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein told a media conference last Friday after the National Religious Leaders Council (NRLC) – which includes the Chief Rabbi – and the South African Council of Churches (SACC) – had met with the country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) and asked them to compel Zuma to resign.

This followed the Constitutional Court’s adverse finding against him on the Nkandla homestead matter – and an apology by the President which the religious leaders are clearly not prepared to accept.

Zuma must goFriday’s meeting followed one earlier in the week when the religious leadership had called for a meeting with the top-six ANC officials. In the end the President and his deputy could not attend.

RIGHT: Screen-pull of Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein at the media conference after meeting the ANC last Friday 


However, the religious leaders did not mince their words. Rabbi Goldstein told the media after the meeting that the religious leaders had told the ANC that they were calling for Zuma’s resignation. It was their plea, said Goldstein, that Zuma “put the good of the country before anything else”.

The Chief Rabbi says the religious leadership clearly told the ANC that their plea had been in the name of “the people we represent. These are not our personal opinions alone,” he said. “We are speaking on behalf of a wide spectrum of faith communities in South Africa, which represents easily, if not upwards of, 80 per cent” of all South Africans.

All the religious leaders were doing, said Goldstein, was echoing what they were “hearing from our constituents”, and these were not their personal views. The call for Zuma’s resignation was a plea from the members of their various faiths, he told journalists. That was why the religious leaders had “felt it our duty, before G-d”, to request to meet the ANC’s top-six officials and to go out and share their views – because it is really for the good of the country, said the Chief Rabbi.

An African News Agency (ANA) report late Friday afternoon, referred to SACC General Secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, saying that the faith-based community could not sit and do nothing when the country was imploding, and had to ask Zuma to think about the implications of his continued stay in the high office.

“We requested the ANC leadership to assist Zuma to resign. We also requested a one-on-one meeting with the president. We would like the president to think about his continued stay in the office,” Mpumlwana said during the media briefing.

The week before last, the Constitutional Court had delivered a damning ruling in which it declared Zuma had failed to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution” when he did not adhere to the remedial actions called for by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in relation to his private Nkandla residence.

Zuma must goFULL
ABOVE: Some of the top religious leaders briefing the media on Friday afternoon

A day later, Zuma apologised to the nation on national television, stating that “any action not keeping with the Constitution happened with different legal advice” – and that it had happened in “good faith.”

But, at the beginning of last week, the SACC and NRLC met and said they were “not prepared to accept the apology” offered by Zuma, and called for him to be recalled. They then requested to meet the top-six ANC officials. Goldstein had also attended the first meeting and on Friday the religious leaders reiterated their belief that Zuma had not apologised.

‘Zuma did not apologise for Nkandla’

“Zuma did not apologise for Nkandla. He only apologised for frustration and confusion. We cannot accept his apology because we are not confused,” said Methodist Church’s Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa.

Siwa said under Zuma’s leadership there was loss in confidence and he added that Zuma was losing the moral integrity to lead. ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was not immediately available for comment.

The religious leaders emphasised that their focus was not a legal one but a moral call. The SACC is made up of interdenominational 36 member Christian churches and organisations, while the NRLC is more broadly representative of all religions – such as Judaism.

ANA reports that “the ANC is in pain and wrestling in the face of mounting pressure for President Jacob Zuma to resign,” and that the SACC and NRLC were still pressing for a meeting with  Zuma next week.

The religious leadership said that they were warmly welcomed by the ANC – and, while the ANC members present “were not able to respond directly, they acknowledged that they heard the call”, they told the media briefing. “We [said] the ANC leadership must assist his [Zuma’s] resignation. He must resign, he must not be seen as forced to resign.”

Calls for the President’s head have also come from opposition parties; civil society; some ANC members; and even ANC party veteran leaders such as Ahmed Kathrada, Trevor Manuel, Cheryl Carolus and uMkhonto weSizwe veteran Mavuso Msimang.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. nat cheiman

    Apr 11, 2016 at 5:14 am

    ‘The country should ditch the ANC. 

    Everything, including education, health, municipalities etc has been virtually destroyed by these politicians who are in a race to see who can plunder more .

    Zuma is the epitome of the ANC, never mind what Kathrada, Carolus and company say.’

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