South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) took five years to decide to remove former president Jacob Zuma from the country’s highest office, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard in Johannesburg on Tuesday.ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe revealed this when he presented evidence before the commission which is probing alleged corruption in the country’s public and private sectors under Zuma who was forced to leave office in 2018.
According to Mantashe, who is also Mineral Resources Minister, the ANC’s Integrity Commission first looked at the possibility of asking Zuma to step down from office in 2013 due to corruption allegations surrounding his rule.
However, this discussion was never passed on to the former president until three years later, Mantashe told the state capture commission.
The late Andrew Mlangeni, who chaired the Integrity Commission, eventually recommended in 2016 that Zuma should step down as the president of the country, the minister said.
Following this decision, Zuma was called in by the ANC Integrity Commission where the recommendation of his stepping down was communicated to him personally by Mlangeni and other members of the commission, Mantashe said.
“A recommendation was made to remove him from office and the former president was invited in December 2016 under the chairpersonship of Mr. Mlangeni to be informed of the decision.
“And each member of the commission, in turn, outlined the reasons for asking to him leave office and that the call for him to step down was made as far back as 2013,” Mantashe said.
Zuma set up the current inquiry commission following a recommendation from then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to probe the allegations surrounding state capture under the former president’s reign.
Zuma has, however, boycotted attending the inquiry, accusing the commission chair, Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, of a personal bias against him.
The former president faces a contempt of court punishment of possible imprisonment for defying the Constitutional Court’s ruling that he must return to the state capture commission to provide evidence.