REPORT: Officials planning to remove Zuma as opposition reacts to low Manifesto turnout


The Presidency has remained mum on weekend media reports that “senior African National Congress (ANC) members” are working on an alleged bold plan to oust President Jacob Zuma after the local government elections on August third.

According to the Sunday Times, the officials, some based at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters, have been discussing details and communicating with party branches across the country opposed to Zuma, to remove him after the elections.

This involved easing the imminent calls for Zuma to leave in favour of ramping up pressure only after the elections had taken place, as some have feared that his early removal could have a negative impact come voting time.

“We need to buy time and act only after the elections. We are giving [Zuma] a long rope to hang himself," he said,” one official allegedly told the paper at the launch of the party’s election manifesto in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Addressing the media after conducting a walkabout of the Greenacres Shopping Centre a day before, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the party remains confidant it would retake control of the Metro after the elections, as only positive feedback from residents had been heard during visits in and around the area.

“In many ways, our people have also been filled with a lot hope as they have been hearing our message. We had weaknesses in this municipality and that is way we brought Danny Jordaan to be our mayor… he has started to do many wonderful things in correcting the mistakes of the past. And what they [people] are saying, is that we must get-on as our hopes are pinned on you,” Ramaphosa said.

The ANC has meanwhile blamed transportation costs and miscommunication as the reasons for the poor attendance at the event, which saw 42 000 supporters gather inside the 46 000 seat Nelson Mandela Bay stadium instead of the 100 000 originally expected.

Speaking at a rally in Mamelodi outside Pretoria shortly after Zuma had finished his speech, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said the low turnout is proof that the “people have abandoned the ANC”.

“They bused people from all over the country to Port Elizabeth, but still the stadium is empty. They said they’ll have 100 000 people in PE. There no people there,” Malema said.

“They put a pitch cover because they hoped to have people on the lawns. There is not a single person on the lawn. I was watching proceedings in PE where Zuma is. The ANC is history…it was buried with Nelson Mandela”.

In a similar reaction, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said the “ANC of 2016 bears no resemblance to the movement that played such an important role in liberating black South Africans from the Apartheid government”.

“Under Jacob Zuma’s self-serving leadership – and assisted by a party whose senior figures had acquired an unquenchable taste for wealth and power – it took just years to dismantle a century of toil and sacrifice,” he told supporters at the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein on Saturday where the ANC, then known as the South African Native National Congress, was established in 1912.

“In Nelson Mandela Bay, the ANC is launching its 2016 election manifesto. They will undoubtedly put on an impressive show, filling out the stadium with thousands of supporters. But don’t let this fool you. The old ANC is dead, and the new one is something entirely different”.