A unified front was taken by three former South African presidents calling for a solution to the “worsening” political crisis, the call supposedly targeting President Jacob Zuma.
This is the first time any such call is coming from the country’s living former heads of state, namely, Thabo Mbeki, F.W. de Klerk and Kgalema Motlanthe. The call was also supported by former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, adopting a national dialogue for a peaceful end the “destructive” crisis.
“Practically it is impossible for anyone in our country to argue against this reality of national sickness in our politics, in our economy,” Mbeki said on launching the national talks, which were jointly sponsored by the three leaders’ foundations under the heading “Reclaiming the South Africa of our dreams”.
There has been strong calls for the resignation of Zuma in recent months on the heels of a number of scandals.
Mbeki said: “Our country is immersed in a general and worsening crisis.”
“So it is that the rose our people planted, as represented by the victory of 1994, is indeed sick,” Mbeki added, referring to the year that marked the end of apartheid.
According to De Klerk, the last apartheid president, he said South Africa “is in the grip of the most serious challenges that have confronted it since the establishment of our non-racial constitutional democracy 23 years ago”.
Zuma being held responsible for the crisis, de Klerk maintained that “the core problem is that our president is not carrying out his duties in terms of … the constitution.”
Zuma was alleged to have involved in corruption and recent controversy surrounding his laying off a respected finance minister has further made him lose popularity at home.