Economic Freedom Fighters supporters march in downtown Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Some thousands of South Africans are demonstrating for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma, who has been enmeshed in scandals that critics say are undermining the country's democracy.AP/Denis Farrell
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has warned its members to avoid corruption and abuse of state power. The party was reacting to a report from the nation’s anti-corruption chief that suggested President Jacob Zuma allowed a powerful family to choose cabinet ministers. The main opposition party is now pushing for a motion of no confidence against the president.
In a statement Thursday, the ANC said it welcomes what is known as the State Capture Report. The party said the report gives it a basis to discuss the allegations of corruption, but fell short of saying that action will be taken against President Zuma and others who are implicated.
In the report, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela details accounts of a number of current and former government officials who were approached by the wealthy Gupta family to either take cabinet posts or make decisions that favor their business interests.
The party has threatened to closely examine the lifestyles of its officials to expose those who amass wealth through corrupt means.
Meanwhile, some party veterans have reacted angrily to Zuma’s conduct as alleged in the report. Cheryl Carolus is one of them.
“Our country is burning and the African National Congress is missing in action,” said Carolus. “We are appalled that the blatant looting of public assets is being openly facilitated by those close to us and those we see as our leaders.”
Opposition parties that went to court to stop Zuma from blocking the release of the report say they are considering various actions against the president.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), says it will press criminal charges against Zuma and others implicated in the report.
Mabine Seabe, the spokesperson for DA leader Mmusi Maimane, says the party will also ask parliament to act.
“We have set a motion of no confidence, and we hope this motion of no confidence will be debated and all those ANC members who have made noise about President Jacob Zuma’s dishonorable conduct will hopefully vote to that motion of no confidence,” said Seabe.
Judith February, an analyst on governance issues at the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa, says that under the circumstances Zuma should voluntarily step down.
“We see a picture which is not constitutional,” said February. “It’s undermining the rule of law. It is the way of a state which is going rogue and a president who is going rogue.”
Tuesday’s report called for the creation of an inquiry board that will investigate all the allegations and reveal its findings within 180 days.