Dear Mr President: it’s not us, it’s you

    It’s no secret that a lot of people are fed up with President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress – the results from August’s local elections are proof of that. But what is No. 1 going to do now with the criticisms are coming from within the ANC and its allies?

    1. Sipho Pityana was most recent to deliver the flames

    During the funeral of Reverend Makhenkesi Stofile, former foreign affairs director general Sipho Pityana called out the current ANC leadership on their smallanyana skeletons.

    Yes, a funeral may not have been the most appropriate place to fire shots at ubab’ Gedleyihlekisa and his leadership pack, but given the applause that Pityana received at the end, it seems Pityana said what many have had trapped in their brains or only let out at their small comrade braais.

    Shots fired included Zuma’s disregard for the constitution (Nkandla), and how the state and the ANC had been captured. “For, no lesser person that the president of our movement and our country takes every opportunity to show nothing but disdain and contempt for our constitution,” he said.

    “I know we’re a movement in denial, for when we talk about why it is we are where we are, we say it is because of the negative and hostile media. Maybe it is. We say it is because Western governments are driving an agenda for a regime change. Maybe it is.

    “We say it because of clever blacks who are ill-disciplined and arrogant. We say it is NGOs who are agents of foreign interests, but comrade Stof would have none of it,” said Pityana.

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    Zuma was due to give an official eulogy but obvs he’s a busy man, running the country and all so he couldn’t receive the dear message. But we’re pretty certain he got it, considering that his chommies were there.

    2. Earlier this year, Uncle Kathy went in, in writing

    Former political prisoner and anti-apartheid struggle activist Ahmed Kathrada – who spent some time with Madiba on Robben Island – wrote a letter to Zuma asking that he step down. This was just after the ConCourt’s ruling on Nkandla.

    In the letter, Kathrada said he could no longer keep silent about the spending of public money on Nkandla and Zuma’s blatant disregard for the constitution. “Today I appeal to our President to submit to the will of the people and resign,” said Kathrada.

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    3. Other struggle stalwarts joined in soon after

    Just a few days later, a civil society coalition was formed, which included former high-ranking ANC leaders, to campaign for the recall or resignation of Zuma. Mavuso Msimang, Ronnie Kasrils, Murphy Morobe and Mandla Langa were part of this coalition.

    This coalition was created in response to the ConCourt’s ruling on Nkandla and claimed that Zuma had failed to uphold the constitution by refusing to follow the Public Protector’s ruling. At the launch of the coalition outside the Constitutional Court, Msimang said, “It is not too late for leadership of the ANC to do the right thing and ask the President to step down.”

    3. Even former Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel has suggested that Zuma step down

    In an interview with Soweto TV Manuel said, “I think it’s in all our interest that the president actually steps aside.” This was also in response to the Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla.

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    Later on, he explained further: “I stand by what I said. If we are seen to play fast and loose with our Constitution, we can’t expect successive generations to have anything to hold on to,” said Manuel at a graduation ceremony at CPUT.

    5. That time a whole political party was created in opposition to Zuma

    The whole reason why the EFF was created was because of clashes between Julius Malema and JZ himself. Back in the day, Malema said that he would “take up arms and kill for Zuma” while Zuma endorsed Malema as someone who could inherit the ANC… how far we have come from that.

    As the two began to have ideological clashes, Malema left the ANCYL to form the EFF. Malema and his supporters felt that they were being mistreated and could not fight for economic freedom within the ANC. Since then, the EFF have called for Zuma to step down or be recalled at every turn, from chanting “Zupta Must Fall” in Parliament, to refusing to enter into coalitions to run local government unless Zuma is removed.

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    6. Even Desmond Tutu threatened to pray for the ANC’s downfall

    Everybody’s favourite Archbishop, Desmond Tutu has shown that Zuma and the ANC aren’t his favourite anymore. He may not be a card-carrying ANC member, but he was a supporter of the ANC in the past, as part of the South African Council of Churches.

    In 2011, he was outraged over the government’s failure to provide the Dalai Lama with a visa.
    “Hey Mr Zuma, you and your government don’t represent me. You represent your own interests,” said Tutu.

    He continued, “I am warning you, as I warned the [pro-apartheid] nationalists, one day we will pray for the defeat of the ANC government… Our government is worse than the apartheid government, because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government,” he said at a press conference in Cape Town.

    In 2014, Tutu was deeply offended at not being invited to the commemorations of Nelson Mandela’s death. At a press conference at St George’s cathedral in Cape Town, he spoke about the pain he felt from being excluded from the programme at Mandela’s funeral.

    “I have already said that I will not vote for them; that is something that I have said,” said Tutu.

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    Maybe it’s time to Mr President to start reading all those open letters that keep landing up in his mailbox.

    Featured image by Ihsaan Haffejee