PARLIAMENT, February 7 – The South African Presidency on Tuesday night dismissed as “outrageous” rumours that President Jacob Zuma was preparing to fire Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and replace him with Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) had earlier accused Zuma of wanting to axe his deputy Ramaphosa, and further accused the embattled head of state of engaging in dangerous “ethnic mobilisation”.
But the Presidency hit out, saying “the allegations reported in the media are preposterous and outrageous”.
In a statement, the Presidency added: “The allegations are completely baseless. The allegations of ethnic mobilisation by the President are equally without foundation.”
The South African Communist Party (SACP) on Tuesday accused President Jacob Zuma of wanting to axe his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, and further accused the embattled head of state of engaging in dangerous “ethnic mobilisation”.
In a statement hours after Parliament announced that it had taken a decision to postpone the State of the Nation (SONA) address due to the real threat of disruption by opposition political parties if Zuma delivered the speech and the continued political uncertainty in the country, the SACP condemned talk of ethnic mobilisation and challenged Zuma to deny or confirm that he was preparing to fire Ramaphosa.
“The South African Communist Party condemns tribalism in the strongest terms possible and the ethnic mobilisation, including that of Amabutho (Zulu regiments) that President Jacob Zuma has apparently engaged in as part of his plan to continue overstaying his welcome in office.
“The SACP reiterates its decision for President Zuma to resign and for the ANC to recall him if he remains intransigent by refusing to resign. The Constitution of our country requires the President to unite, and not to divide, our nation. President Zuma’s conduct is reckless and unacceptable. The SACP is calling on all South Africans to unite in defence of our country and not allow him to go down with our hard-won democracy.”
The SACP further challenged Zuma to “deny or confirm emerging, and considering his desperation, probably credible, information that he is preparing to fire Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa anytime from now and replace him with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who he wants to position to take over as Acting President should he find himself removed from office”.
Dlamini-Zuma was President Zuma’s preferred presidential candidate for the 54th ANC National Conference held in December 2017 when Ramaphosa won the race to become the president of the ruling party.
“To that extent it would be very clear that President Zuma is also determined to divide and destroy the ANC through unrepentant factional conduct,” the SACP added.
In an unprecedented move earlier Tuesday, Speaker Baleka Mbete announced that SONA would be postponed on request from opposition parties who have threatened to disrupt the proceedings. Disruptions have already marked the official opening of Parliament for the past few years with opposition MPs having been forcefully removed after questioning Zuma’s legitimacy as president.
Mbete said they did not want a repeat of this.
While a new date for the SONA had not been set, National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise said they were looking to schedule it before the budget is tabled on February 21 – a date which Parliament has said it would not move because of the effect it could have on the markets.