Winnie Mandela Joins Calls for South Africa’s Jacob Zuma to Resign
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has joined calls for South African president Jacob Zuma to step down following a series of corruption scandals.
Nelson Mandela’s former wife said the ruling African National Congress needed new leaders.
“We cannot pretend we do not have problems, we cannot pretend things are not wrong in our country,” she said.
Mr Zuma still has three years to serve as president, but the party may decide to replace him ahead of an ANC conference in December 2017.
Other party stalwarts who have called for a change of leadership include former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, Mandela’s prison cellmate Ahmed Kathrada and former finance minister Trevor Manuel.
Mrs Madikizela-Mandela, who is a member of the 100-strong National Executive Committee, said that action must be taken to salvage “what’s left of the ANC”.
“A lot of things are wrong,” she said, while visiting some of the country’s best football players in Soweto.
“The kind of introspection we need will need a whole layer of fresh leadership combined with the elders who are still left in the organisation to revisit what has happened since 1994, go through all the stages of the various presidents and find out, where did we go so wrong?”
Mrs Madikizela-Mandela questioned whether the system of proportional representation, established in 1994 after the end of apartheid, was responsible for the endemic graft in the country that last month prompted millions of voters to turn away from the ANC in local elections, resulting in it losing control of several major cities including the capital Pretoria.
“Why do we have so much corruption? Everywhere you turn, in every institution, the one word that is on everybody’s lips is corruption. Who has the answers to that? It is the governing party,” she said.
Mama Winnie, as she is affectionately known by South Africans, recently celebrated her 80th birthday party and was escorted to a star-studded reception by deputy president Cyril Rampahosa, who is among the front-runners to take over from the president. Mr Zuma was nowhere to be seen.
Daniel Silke, a political analyst, said the growing numbers of people speaking out was emboldening others.
“It all hugely dents the power base of Jacob Zuma,” he said. The rug is slowly being pulled from under him. He is being weakened almost on a weekly basis and it can’t last forever.”
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