Johannesburg – A furious President Jacob Zuma has threatened his detractors in the ANC not to “push him too far”.
Zuma addressed the party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Pretoria after surviving another motion for him to step down. The party’s highest decision-making body between conferences debated the motion for two days, with the meeting ending late on Sunday evening.
“He was very angry. It was the first time I have seen him so angry,” said an NEC source.
The source added that Zuma threatened ANC leaders in his closing address to stop criticising him in public as he will no longer continue to keep quiet.
“I have been quiet because I don’t want to harm the ANC, so continue attacking me in the media and you will see,” Zuma is quoted saying to the ANC NEC.
The president further warned the NEC that it should be the last time he faced a motion of no confidence.
Zuma told the meeting he didn’t understand calls for him to step down now as he was not standing for re-election at the party’s elective conference in December.
Zuma is also said to have slammed the Gauteng ANC for blaming him for the party’s electoral decline, reminding the province that it had refused to distribute T-shirts bearing his name for the 2016 local government electoral campaign.
He further blamed the party for losing the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality due to infighting that has plagued the ANC in the metro.
Zuma also referred to an alleged plot to poison him in 2014, saying he knew who was behind the plot but did not want to harm the ANC.
Second call to step down
The NEC debated Zuma’s political future after ANC policy guru Joel Netshitenzhe put forward the motion – the second motion in six months for Zuma to vacate his office.
Two NEC members confirmed to News24 that Zuma had survived.
A source who attended the meeting told News24 that as many as 70 NEC members speakers spoke for and against the motion.
A Zuma supporter claimed that Zuma had the support of most speakers despite earlier confidence expressed by the faction opposing Zuma’s leadership that their NEC support had grown.
Unconfirmed reports were that at least 18 NEC members, including Cabinet ministers, supported Netshitenzhe’s motion, but that considerably more ANC leaders spoke against the motion for Zuma to step down.
Zuma supporters said it was easier to “crush” the motion this time than in November when former tourism minister Derek Hanekom unexpectedly tabled a motion for Zuma to go.
* This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is confirmed.