Calls for the African National Congress to remove its president amounted to a call to “tear itself apart”‚ ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday night.
Mantashe also dismissed speculation that the ANC’s top five leaders urged President Jacob Zuma to resign‚ which he refused to do‚ during a meeting held earlier on Friday – he said this did not happen.
Shortly after Zuma apologised to the nation for his handling of the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla‚ the ANC addressed the media saying it would not “play into the gallery”.
Mantashe was addressing the media after a meeting of the party’s top six leaders‚ including Zuma‚ earlier in the day.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema on Friday tweeted that the ANC’s top five leaders urged Zuma to step down at the meeting but he had refused.
The party is reeling from the Constitutional Court judgment which found that Zuma had failed to uphold‚ defend and respect the Constitution after he failed to protect the dignity of the office of the Public Protector‚ a Chapter 9 institution.
Mantashe said it would be a “sick organisation” which takes action against its president because the official opposition‚ the Democratic Alliance‚ or the EFF have called on it to do so.
He also said any sector of society who wanted to engage the ANC on the matter was welcome to do so.
“The ANC extends an invitation to any sector of society that wishes to engage on this… if you want to engage us‚ we will come‚” he said‚ in response to calls from church groups and other sectors for Zuma’s resignation.
The party is set to hold an extended national working committee meeting on Monday‚ in which its top brass are expected to discuss the judgment.