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Sizani’s departure not surprising - opposition

Sizani’s departure not surprising - opposition

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Congress of the People (Cope) have described the sudden resignation of African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip, Stone Sizani, as a clear indication that the ruling party is beginning to fizzle out under President Jacob Zuma.

On Wednesday afternoon, the party announced that Sizani, who had been Chief Whip since 2013, would be re-deployed to a rumoured ambassadorial position in Germany. Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude will replace him in an acting role until a new whip is elected.

In a statement, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said Sianzi’s sudden departure proves he could no longer live with his conscience in continuing to defend Zuma.

“For the past three years, Sizani has been forced to make a career of defending the indefensible in Parliament at President Zuma’s behest, and has sustained numerous embarrassments in the National Assembly,” Steenhuisen said.

He added that the DA’s motion of no confidence vote in Zuma, which was dismissed by 225 votes to 99 in Parliament on Tuesday, could well have been “the final straw for Sizani”.

“His resignation is a clear sign of the growing rifts within the ANC, and of an ANC caucus, which is collapsing under the weight of President Zuma’s presidency. Regardless, we wish the now former Chief Whip all the best abroad in his new ambassadorial role”.

Similarly, Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said Sizani’s exit does not come as a surprise, as he had become “unpopular” with ANC members for not accepting Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s investigation into the upgrades at the President’s Nkandla homestead.

“Cope has reliably learnt from sources within the ANC that the last straw for Sizane was the sudden somersault of Zuma when he said that he is prepared to pay back a portion of the money spent on Nkandla,” Bloem remarked.

“He felt that his personal integrity is questionable in the public’s eyes. We will not be surprised to see more resignations will follow from ANC MPs”.

Bloem however said the party remains suspicious about Sizani’s new intended role, following former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s resignation from Parliament in January after he was re-deployed to head up the BRICS bank in Johannesburg.

“As we speak now Mr Nene is unemployed, sitting at home. We have no doubt that many ANC MPs and members will break their silence and speak out against the wrong that is happening in the country, and break ranks with their President,” he said.