View Full Version : President Mbeki of South Africa toppled

21st September 2008, 11:19
OUT! How Mbeki was toppled
Moipone Malefane, Mpumelelo Mkhabela, Ndivhuho Mafela, Zine George and Paddy Harper Published:Sep 21, 2008


In South Africa’s most dramatic political week since 1994, the ANC yesterday fired President Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki is expected to announce his resignation at a special sitting of parliament this week.

In other developments:

The ANC has selected speaker and ANC chairman Baleka Mbete to serve out the rest of Mbeki’s term, which ends in April;

Senior Mbeki supporters, including minister of defence Mosiuoa Lekota, plan to split the ANC with the launch of a new party that could contest next year’s election;

Mbeki has cancelled a scheduled trip to New York to address the General Assembly of the United Nations and launch an international 2010 Soccer World Cup project;

ANC president Jacob Zuma summoned all Mbeki’s cabinet ministers to a meeting yesterday evening, but several said they would not accept his invitation to stay on in government.

Mbeki’s lifelong ascent through the ranks of the ANC came to a crashing halt in the early hours of yesterday morning when party treasurer Mat hews Phosa declared a consensus in favour of his dismissal.

The charge had been led by bitter Mbeki rivals Tokyo Sexwale, Cyril Ramaphosa and Blade Nzimande.

Sexwale and Ramaphosa, who were once presidential contenders, argued that Mbeki had abused state power to push them out of politics.

Sexwale even proposed that Mbeki should be hauled before an ANC disciplinary committee on charges of abusing state power.

This could add weight to Zuma’s reported call at a recent meeting of alliance officials for a “war council” to look into what he called the looting of public assets during Mbeki’s rule.

Zuma’s proposal was accepted by representatives of the ANC, the SA Communist Party and Cosatu, but no time frame was agreed.

Mbeki’s fate was sealed when Judge Chris Nicholson last week accused him of subverting organs of state in order to pursue Zuma’s prosecution on corruption charges.

At Friday’s meeting, Nzimande, the general secretary of the SACP , accused Mbeki of abusing his power and of causing tensions within the ANC alliance.

Mbeki ally Joel Netshitenzhe pleaded with members to allow the president to finish his term or call for early elections. But even minister of arts and culture Pallo Jordan’s warning of dire consequences for the country fell on deaf ears, as did minister of social development Zola Skweyiya’s plea for cool heads.

Mbeki’s office confirmed his sacking in a terse statement: “Following the decision of the national executive committee of the African National Congress to recall President Thabo Mbeki, the president has obliged and will step down after all constitutional requirements have been met.”

Minister of foreign affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will lead South Africa’s delegation to the UN this week.

The constitution requires the cabinet to appoint an acting president as soon as Mbeki quits. The acting president, who should be a member of the cabinet, will manage the election of a replacement for Mbeki within 30 days of his resignation.

The constitution makes it easy for the ANC, which holds an overwhelming majority in parliament, to install Mbete as president for the remainder of Mbeki’s final five-year term.

It would then be her job to dissolve parliament and call a general election between April and July next year.

A senior parliamentary official said Mbeki’s resignation and the election of a new president could be achieved in a matter of days.

He said Mbeki would have to hand in his resignation to Mbete, as speaker.

ANC insiders said Zuma was trying late yesterday to persuade deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to cancel her announced resignation.

If she refuses, ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe is likely to be named deputy president.

Other veteran Mbeki supporters are fighting back.

Mluleki George, the deputy minister of defence, declined to confirm whether he and other Mbeki supporters, including Lekota and Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, were involved in an initiative to form a new party, but he said an announcement was imminent.

“I’m not in a position to discuss this thing at this stage, but in a few days or a week, you will hear the details,” he said.

Organisers behind the proposed new party said backers met in Gauteng recently and would meet again this week to decide whether to register the still-unnamed party for the 2009 election.

Nelson Mandela Foundation chairman Jakes Gerwel said Mandela had “noted the NEC’s decision”.

“He will return to South Africa on Monday, after which he will request a briefing on the matter,” he said.

Mbeki’s brother, Moeletsi Mbeki, a political analyst who is sharply critical of the outgoing president, slammed yesterday’s ANC move as a “recipe for civil war”.

“My view is that what the ANC national executive is doing or has done is setting a very dangerous precedent for South Africa, which could lead to the kind of civil war we saw in Kenya at the beginning of this year,” he said.

“In Kenya they imposed a head of state, which is what led to a civil war where 1600 people were killed in a couple of weeks and hundreds of thousands lost their homes.”

He said impeachment would have been the correct route to follow if the party believed Mbeki had done wrong.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille labeled Mbeki’s ouster a “power grab”.

“This is the ‘political solution’ that Jacob Zuma and his followers have wanted for a long time. It’s all about revenge and settling political scores.

“It is now predictable that Jacob Zuma or one of his proxies will block the truth about Zuma from coming out at a court of law,” she said.

Former President FW de Klerk said: “All that I would like to say at the moment is that it is unfortunate that a sitting president should be forced from office before the end of his term.

“At this stage we should also give proper recognition to the many achievements of President Mbeki’s term in office.”

Human rights campaigner Zachie Achmat, who faced down Mbeki over HIV/Aids, said: “This is long overdue. Personally I would have liked to see him impeached for causing the deaths of many hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV; for the corruption of the arms deal; for the undermining of every independent state institution.”

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said the move would make it easier for Zuma’s backers to protect him from prosecution.

“Look at the destruction they have been doing, attacking the Constitutional Court, attacking everybody, so there’s no stopping of these cowboys,” he said.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said South Africans needed stable leadership to confront “the enormous challenges we face, like crime, poverty and unemployment”.

An Mbeki ally said yesterday that “the reason they are moving so fast to remove him is that they believe he is entrenching his own people”.

Among those expected to quit are the minister of public service and administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi; the minister of public works, Thoko Didiza; minister in the presidency Essop Pahad; minister of public enterprises Alec Erwin, who managed Eskom into the power crisis that hit in January; and Jabu Moleketi, the deputy minister of finance.

Thoraya Pandy, a spokesman for minister of finance Trevor Manuel, said: “The finance minister has not resigned and as far as I know he will not resign.”

Parliament’s foreign affairs portfolio committee chairman and senior ANC MP Job Sithole said Mbeki’s removal could have implications for the country’s diplomats abroad.

“There are diplomats who, when the president of the ANC visits abroad, want to have nothing to do with him.

“They pretend they do not know him. Either they will have to voluntarily go or they will have to be removed.

“It was their duty to service any senior politician of the country, be it a leader of the opposition or not ,” he said.

In another move that could create further divisions within the ruling party, the NEC was yesterday set to disband the entire ANC provincial executive committee in North West.

Most of the delegates from the province supported Mbeki at the Polokwane conference last year. A task team, led by the ANC’s head of campaigns, Fikile Mbalula, found there was vote rigging at the April provincial conference .

Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust chairman Don Mkhwanazi welcomed Mbeki’s sacking.

“People around me have sprung into singing. I think whatever is done must be done in the best interest of the country.”

Durban businessman and Zuma backer Vivian Reddy said: “I think that the ANC has made a decision that will be positive for the organisation and members of the ANC. A Zuma presidency will be very good for the minorities in South Africa.”

22nd September 2008, 11:39
The constitution of our beloved country has proved to be worth its meatal with what has transpired recently. Nobody should be allowed to meddle with the constitutional rights of the people of south africa. Thabo Mbeki has paid the price for trying to do just that. Even if it was not him directly, there was political meddling, and the buck has to stop somewhere,
in this instance, the president of the country.

Our fledgling democracy has again proven its worth by ousting a president in a manner that is constitutionally correct. Congrats to Thabo for accepting the entire process.

Make no mistake, Zuma, must still stand trial though. There are too many unanswered questions.

22nd September 2008, 15:51
Big Business rules South Africa and they know that South Africa will be in turmoil if Zuma is sent to jail. I don't think Zuma will stand trial and I think that Shabbir Shaik will be pardoned and released from prison.

Noliswe has just beaten Evita Bezuidenhout in becoming Zuma's 7th wife. The couple got married yesterday in KwaZulu Natal. :)

22nd September 2008, 20:39
What's SA's governance system at the moment? Is it a presidential system similar to the US?

22nd September 2008, 22:15
Government in South Africa

South Africa is a constitutional democracy with a three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary. The national, provincial and local levels of government all have legislative and executive authority in their own spheres, and are defined in the Constitution as "distinctive, interdependent and interrelated".
Operating at both national and provincial levels are advisory bodies drawn from South Africa's traditional leaders.

It is a stated intention in the Constitution that the country be run on a system of co-operative governance.


Legislative authority is vested in Parliament, which is situated in Cape Town and consists of two houses, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. Parliament is bound by the Constitution and must act within its limits.

The National Assembly. The National Assembly consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members elected for a five-year term on the basis of a common voters’ roll. It is presided over by a Speaker, assisted by a Deputy Speaker. The current Speaker is Dr Frene Ginwala. The current Deputy Speaker is Ms Baleka Mbete.

The number of National Assembly seats awarded to each political party is in proportion to the outcome of the national election, which is held every five years. In South Africa’s second democratic general election in 1999, the African National Congress won 266 seats. They were followed by the Democratic Party with 38 seats, the Inkatha Freedom Party with 34, the New National Party with 28, and the United Democratic Movement with 14. Other smaller parties are also represented.

The National Council of Provinces. Also participating in the legislative process is the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), a body created to achieve co-operative governance and participatory democracy. It is through this body that national and provincial interests are aligned in national legislation that affects the provinces.

The NCOP consists of 54 permanent members and 36 special delegates, and elects its own chairperson. Each of South Africa’s nine provinces sends 10 representatives to the NCOP - six permanent members, and four special delegates headed by the provincial premier or a member of the provincial legislature designated by the premier. There is a formula to ensure that each province’s delegation includes representation by minority parties.

In addition, local (municipal) government representatives may participate in the NCOP but not vote – 10 part-time members represent different categories of municipalities. The South African Local Government Association joined the NCOP in February 1998.

The President and the Cabinet

The President, elected by the National Assembly from among its members, is the executive Head of State and leads the Cabinet. The President may not serve more than two five-year terms in office.

The Cabinet consists of the President, the Deputy President and 25 Ministers. The President appoints the Deputy President and Ministers, assigns their powers and functions, and may dismiss them. All but two Ministers must be selected from among the members of the National Assembly. The members of Cabinet are accountable individually and collectively to Parliament. Deputy Ministers are also appointed by the President from among the members of the National Assembly.


Legislation may be introduced in the National Assembly only by Cabinet members, Deputy Ministers, or a member of a National Assembly committee. Any Bill may be introduced in the National Assembly. In the NCOP, legislation may be introduced only by a member or committee, and it must fall within certain constitutionally defined areas.

Bills passed in the National Assembly must be referred to the NCOP for consideration. The NCOP may pass, propose amendments to or reject a Bill. The National Assembly must reconsider a Bill in cases of amendments or rejections, and pass it again with or without amendments.

This process is simple with regard to Bills affecting national functions such as defence, foreign affairs and justice, when each NCOP delegate has one vote.

However, when the NCOP considers a Bill that affects the provinces – on functions such as security, welfare, education and health – each province has one vote. This is to ensure that provinces first reach consensus individually on the Bill.

Such Bills may be introduced in either the National Assembly or the NCOP. Bills first passed by the NCOP must be referred to the National Assembly, and a mediation committee exists to resolve any disagreements between the two houses. It consists of nine members elected from and by the National Assembly, and nine – one representing each province – from the NCOP.

Ultimately, the National Assembly may override the NCOP by a two-thirds majority.

Bills amending the Constitution require a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly as well as a supporting vote of six of the nine provinces represented in the NCOP. However, preceding that is the requirement that a Bill amending Section 1 of the Constitution, which sets out the state’s founding values, requires a 75% majority in the National Assembly.

(Serious violation of the Constitution is one of the grounds on which the President may be removed from office, also on a two-thirds majority.)

State institutions

State institutions created to support constitutional democracy are the Public Protector; the Human Rights Commission; the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities; the Commission for Gender Equality; the Auditor-General and the Electoral Commission.

23rd September 2008, 18:20
What's the deal with Zuma?

23rd September 2008, 18:25
He should stand trial on all the charges levelled against him. The court case ruling, in his favour, was only on his constitutional rights being enfringed upon. The judge was quite clear when he specifically stated in his findings that his ruling, on this issue, does not in any way reflect on the guilt or non guilt of zuma with realtion to the charges brought against him. Procedurally they were incorrect.

Zuma should stand trial on all charges levelled gainst him. Let the courts decide his future.

Personally i do not want him as my president, too many allegations etc.

The current interim president would much better suite the position.

23rd September 2008, 20:49
I think it is better to move to Zim, at least they still have a government ... today there was a mass resignation of cabinet ministers in SA. :(

23rd September 2008, 21:32
So this is Jacob Zuma?


Looks like a rapper, to be honest! :)))

23rd September 2008, 23:11
The man never went to school.

He has 73 charges of corruption against him.

He is accused of rape.

Zuma knows that all he has to do to stay in power is be pro 'big business' and pro Israel.

It would be a sad day for South Africa the day Zuma becomes president

23rd September 2008, 23:21
So the President is really more like a Prime Minister, elected by the party in power as opposed to a separate vote?

23rd September 2008, 23:26
So the President is really more like a Prime Minister, elected by the party in power as opposed to a separate vote?

Yes thats right.