A powerful trade union federation in SA, Cosatu, which doubles as a key coalition partner of the ruling ANC on Tuesday, called for President Zuma’s Resignation.
An already unpopular President Zuma slid further down the rungs of popularity after an unexpected cabinet reshuffle that saw him setting aside favored Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan and some other members of the cabinet.
It was reported that the cabinet reshuffle as unexpected as it was had caused a serious rift in ANC which has already been suffering some division in recent times.
The call by Coastu for Zuma’s resignation lends some credence to those speculations considering the fact that Cosatu, along with the South African Communist Party and the ANC, was at the forefront of the effort to dislodge white-minority rule in South Africa, a struggle that led to non-racial elections in 1994.
Union general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said it was time for Zuma to “step down”. He spoke in a media briefing;
“We no longer believe in his leadership abilities,”
“The president was careless and reckless,”
Ntshalintshali further added that the reshuffle would “cost the country a lot”. Previously, Coastu has openly backed Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who led Cosatu during the anti-apartheid struggle, to succeed him in 2019.
Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini also spoke, stating that;
“Even if it means marching into the street we will do that to make our point. We believe in this alliance led by the ANC but we want a reconfiguration of this alliance,”
The agitations by the group came after SA’s new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that the country had been downgraded to junk status by S&P a status which puts them below investment grade. Gigaba admitted that it was a setback for the economy but encouraged in a media conference;
“We acknowledge yesterday’s announcement was a setback… but now is not a time for despondency,”
“What these reviews highlight is that we need to reignite our nation’s growth engines.”
Groups have already started protesting against President Zuma showing what seems to be a complete lack of confidence in the President’s leadership.
Zuma has, however, weathered many storms of widespread displeasure in the past, even beating three different no-confidence votes last year, so it remains anybody’s guess whether Zuma’s resignation is imminent or if SA will settle down after a while.