President Jacob Zuma has lived to fight another day.
Just hours before the announcement that Zuma’s job was safe, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters filed another motion against him in Parliament.
The African National Congress national executive committee (NEC) came out guns blazing yesterday, saying it did not support the call for Zuma to step down as president.
After a three-day long debate over a motion of no confidence tabled against Zuma, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the NEC decided that Zuma should not step down but that the party instead focus on uniting the movement.
A briefing was held at the party’s headquarters to discuss the outcomes of the NEC meeting at which senior leaders nearly came to blows as some questioned the president’s fitness to hold office.
In a shock move on Saturday, Tourism minister Derek Hanekom who sits on the ANC’s NEC, broke ranks when he filed the motion of no confidence in Zuma at the meeting which took place in Irene.
Hanekom Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi asked the president to resign, supported by ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu.
Mantashe said there were “robust difficult and candid” discussions about Zuma’s leadership, but no vote on the motion was tabled at the meeting.
Zuma did not take part in discussions, and left for Havana yesterday to attend former Cuban president Fidel Castro’s funeral.
Mantashe said: “The NEC did not support the call for the President to step down. The motion was debated robustly; sometimes it was very difficult for members during the debate.
“The NEC has decided it was better to direct all the energies to unite the movement.”
Mantashe also said that no action will be taken against Zuma’s detractors.
“Our view is that nobody will be treated in a different way because [they] happen to raise an issue in the NEC meeting“ said Mantashe.
Meanwhile, EFF filed an urgent motion with National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, for a vote of no confidence in Zuma.
But the ANC’s Jesse Duarte said they were not concerned about Julius Malema and his supporters.
“This is what, their fourth motion, it will also not be successful,” she said.