REPORT: Zuma told NEC he would step down if asked


Two senior African National Congress (ANC) members have alleged that President Jacob Zuma told the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in Pretoria that he would be prepared to step down if asked.

“[Zuma] told us we should tell him directly if we wanted him to step down, rather than to stab him in the back,” one member, claimed to support a faction within the ruling party led by Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, told the paper.

He however stated that the NEC opted not to recall Zuma as it would have been “irresponsible” and have a “negative impact” come the local government elections on May 18th.

According to reports, discussions during the event remained tense with questions surrounding Zuma’s relationship with the controversial Gupta family, being the main focus point.

Speaking to the Sunday Times this past weekend, former Government Communications CEO Temba Maseko claimed Zuma arranged for him to meet with family at their home in Saxonworld six years ago, with the eventual discussion being around government advertising for the yet-to-be-launched New Age newspaper.

Refusing to arrange a follow-up meeting weeks later, Maseko stated that Ajay Gupta demanded him to be present at the paper’s launch, saying, “I am not asking you, I am telling you”.

“He said; I will talk to your seniors in government and you will be sorted out. We will replace you with people who will co-operate,” Maseko, who was later removed from the position, told the paper.

In a post on twitter on Tuesday evening, Maseko said his seniors were “shocked” when told about the meeting, but stopped short of revealing any names.

His announcement came after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas revealed that the family offered him the position of Finance Minister days before the firing of Nhlanhla Nene in December last year, while former Portfolio Chairperson of Public Works Vytjie Mentor claimed in a series of posts on Facebook that Zuma had been present in another room when the Guptas offered her the Public Enterprises portfolio shortly before the axing of Barbara Hogan in 2010.

Zuma however rejected the allegations that the family had any involvement in the appointing of cabinet members, telling Parliament during a heated questions and answer sitting last week that only he appointed ministers.

“I am in charge of government, no minister here was ever appointed by the Guptas or anybody else. They were appointed by me,” Zuma said.