DURBAN – Non-profit organisation Transform RSA on Wednesday sent a legal letter to the African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) which served as “an urgent warning” against any intentions of removing President Jacob Zuma from office.
The ruling party has until Friday to respond to the letter, which Transform RSA says goes beyond the ANC’s first meeting of its newly-elected NEC, which was held on Wednesday.
While pundits and media speculated that Zuma’s removal from office might have been on the agenda at the NEC meeting, newly elected secretary-general Ace Magashule denied this, saying the inaugural meeting of the new NEC was only concerned with party president, Cyril Ramaphosa’s, January 8 statement.
The new ANC leader will deliver the statement in East London on Saturday, as part of the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations.
Sent from Maubane Mphahlele Inc., the letter said Transform RSA’s attorneys were acting on behalf of members of the public “who have direct material and vested interests in the above matter, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of South Africa governing both election and removal of a President of South Africa”.
The letter stated Transform RSA was a “registered legal entity” trading as a non-profit company under the name of Manovision (Pty) Ltd, formed in July 2016.
Transform RSA had become aware “on or about 1 January 2018” of the ANC’s NEC meeting held on Wednesday, “to discuss, inter alia, an intended removal of Mr. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma…from the position of Executive President of South Africa,” according to the letter.
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Transform RSA had “a vested and material interest” in the matter, according to the letter, as it was a non-governmental organisation representing a certain constituency and acting in the public interest.
The letter continued that Transform RSA’s members and the rights of “the broader general public” would be “materially affected” by the NEC’s decision to remove Zuma from officeand that this would be inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the country’s constitution as it had the potential to create nationwide instability.
Zuma’s removal also had “no expressed authority” according to the ANC constitution, the letter said, adding that the NEC was not and had never been “an appointing authority on any person to the office of the president of the Republic of South Africa, irrespective of the fact that Zuma was its preferred candidate for that position before and after [the 2014] general elections”.
“The procedures for election and removal of president of South Africa are clearly set out in the constitution, and it is not our intention in this letter to recount each and every constitutional provision, other than reminding the NEC that you are not an appointing nor a removal authority about any person holding or due to hold position of president of South Africa.”
Transform RSA was demanding “an unequivocal and unconditional undertaking” by the party and its NEC, allies and partners that there would be no intention to discuss or decide on removing Zuma from office.
ANC spokesperson Khusela Diko had not responded to questions by the time of publication.