ANC Veteran Kathrada Calls on South Africa's Zuma to Resign

  • Country must move away from wrong path soon, Kathrada says
  • Highest court found president violated the constitution

A veteran member of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress who was jailed with former President Nelson Mandela on Robben Island has called on President Jacob Zuma to resign after the nation’s highest court found he violated the constitution.

“I know that if I were in the president’s shoes, I would step down with immediate effect,” Ahmed Kathrada, who was tried and convicted with Mandela by the former whites-only government, said in a letter to Zuma that was sent to the media. “I believe that is what would help the country to find its way out of a path that it never imagined it would be on, but one that it must move out of soon.”

Ahmed Kathrada

Photographer: Denzil Maregele/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The Constitutional Court ruled this week that Zuma “failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution” because he didn’t abide by graft ombudsman Thuli Madonsela’s 2014 directive to repay some of the 215.9 million rand ($14.7 million) of taxpayer money spent on renovating his private home. While Zuma told reporters on Friday he accepts the court’s ruling and the ANC said the judgment is no reason to impeach the president, opposition parties have been calling for his resignation.

Dissent over Zuma’s stewardship of Africa’s most industrialized economy has intensified since December, when his decision to name a little-known lawmaker as his finance minister in place of the respected Nhlanhla Nene sent the rand, along with the stock and bond markets, into a tailspin. Four days later, Zuma reappointed Pravin Gordhan to the post that he’d held from 2009 to 2014 after coming under pressure from ANC and business leaders.

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