ANC MP and former police minister Charles Nqakula has called on the party to change course in order to avoid being swept away by the tsunami of President Jacob Zuma and his endless scandals.
Nqakula was speaking in East London at a Daily Dispatch and University of Fort Hare Dialogue on Friday night where he released his memoir, The People’s War – Reflections of an ANC Cadre.
He slammed corruption in the government and ANC ranks, saying at this rate it would be difficult to stop.
He said the looting spree was a well-coordinated scheme operating like a criminal syndicate with a “flow of money to the pockets of national leaders”.
According to Nqakula, “politics of the stomach” had eaten up the ANC, and the party was now so weak that if a snap election were called in September – if Zuma falls via a vote of no confidence scheduled for August 8 – the ANC would suffer a humiliating defeat.
For Nqakula, Zuma should step aside after the December ANC elective conference as head of state to allow the party’s new president to take over at the Union Buildings.
On the vote of no confidence itself, Nqakula discouraged ANC MPs from voting with opposition parties, saying the desire to have Zuma out should not cloud their thinking.
According to him, should Zuma fall on August 8, that would wreak havoc in the country, with a potential of no cabinet for at least 30 days which would stall service delivery.
Nqakula emphasised that a successful vote of no confidence against Zuma would not favour the ANC but would be close to handing power to the DA on a silver platter.
“If Zuma falls, his cabinet and deputy ministers fall too. Then the speaker of parliament takes over government,” said Nqakula. Because the speaker does not have constitutional powers to appoint cabinet, it means there will be no cabinet for 30 days.
“When the speaker calls a snap election at the end of the 30 days, do we have the same name for who should take over as president? No.”
Even if the ANC were to agree on the name of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over if Zuma falls, that situation would not favour Ramaphosa come December’s ANC elective conference as he was bound to commit mistakes between then and the party congress.
“So the problems that will arise as a consequence of wanting Zuma out now, will be bigger than if we let him continue until December.
“That is the trick. It is unimaginable that we would give power to the DA.
“It has to be the ANC that is the only party with a progressive programme on the liberation of our people,” he said.
Nqakula believes Zuma’s reign as the country’s president should be cut in January 2018 after the party’s elective conference to clear the path for the governing party to prepare for what is expected to be a watershed general polls in 2019.
Said Nqakula: “When the ANC in December elects a new president, that president must be given an opportunity to lead the ANC force into the elections in 2019, not just as president of the party but also as head of state in the country.
“We cannot have a president of the ANC working side by side with a president of South Africa who is a target of attack because of allegations surrounding his name,” he continued.
“If Zuma steps down in January 2018, the opposition will not have anything to say about the ANC going into 2019.”
The National Heritage Council’s (NHC) chief executive officer Sonwabile Mancotywa said the NHC had funded the publishing of The People’s War and partnered in it’s Friday launch.
Mancotywa said the NHC last year initiated a programme of preserving the reflections and accounts of unsung heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle and that a number of these are being told and preserved with support by the council. — firstname.lastname@example.org