ANC leaders in Twitter row over Zuma

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.Picture: Gallo Images

ANC national executive committee (NEC) members Derek Hanekom and Mmaloko Kubayi have crossed swords on social media over the political future of President Jacob Zuma in the face of growing calls by his detractors for him to step down as head of state.

Hanekom and Kubayi have ignited a bitter Twitter row barely weeks after the ruling party’s national conference, at which members were warned not to use social media for their own ends.

Committee head on communications Jackson Mthembu said at the party’s 54th national conference in Nasrec that the new NEC should finalise the party’s social media policy in the next six months to curb disciplinary infractions by party members.

However, Hanekom and Kubayi were at each others throats on Monday after Hanekom said he hoped that “sanity” would prevail so that a motion of no confidence could be raised against Zuma before the party’s first NEC meeting for the year sits next week.

Kubayi hit out at Hanekom and accused him of using social media to drive a wedge between party leaders.

“I’m shocked by your continued use of social media to the detriment of the ANC, cadre Derek,” Kubayi said. In a tweet Hanekom said of the growing chorus for Zuma to be removed as head of state: “Perhaps I am naïve, but I am hoping that some sanity will prevail, and the sensible and honourable thing will be done before the 10th.”

Messages also surfaced yesterday on social media where Kubayi appeared to defend Zuma and insisted the country’s woes could not all be pinned on his shoulders alone.

This comes as ANC stalwarts and veterans renewed their call for Zuma to step down ahead of the 2019 general elections for the sake of the ANC.

Media speculation is rife that Zuma and Ramaphosa supporters are expected to lock horns at the NEC meeting, with Ramaphosa’s backers poised to argue that the issue of the ruling party’s two centres of power, with Zuma leading the ANC in government and Ramaphosa leading the ANC from its Luthuli head office, is unworkable.

In their New Year’s statement the party’s stalwarts also resuscitated calls for Zuma’s head.

“A starting point and a clear message to the country, would be for our country’s president to voluntarily step down in the interests of the country and the ANC.

“If the president really loves the ANC and wants it to remain in power by 2019, he would assist it by handing over the leadership of country to the newly elected president of the ANC,” the statement read.