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President Mbeki obliges, will step down

by BuaNews Online
on 20 Sep 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

President Thabo Mbeki has obliged to the decision of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress to recall him and will step down after all constitutional requirements have been met.

This according to a statement released by the Presidency on Saturday.

"Following the decision of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress to recall President Thabo Mbeki, the President has obliged and will step down after all constitutional requirements have been met," the statement said.

Earlier on Saturday, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe announced that the ANC had decided to recall President Thabo Mbeki before his term of office expired.

According to President Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, the President had accepted the decision as indicated by Mr Mantashe.

"We want to ensure that there's certainty (of the ANC), that's why we've taken this decision. This procedure (the recall) will take place to ensure the smooth running of government," Mr Mantashe told media gathered in Kempton Park.

The recall, he said, was subject to the parliamentary process.

"The President is elected by Parliament; once the decision is taken, the parliamentary process takes over; the process will follow in terms of the law."

Parliament, he said, was still to look at how the decision would be implemented, as the constitution was silent on the matter of the President stepping down.

"Therefore, the parliament has to 'develop the formula' for implementing this decision," he said.

The parliamentary process will select the acting president.

"The President in charge of the country now, is President Mbeki until he resigns."

Mr Mantashe said President Mbeki's reaction to the news was normal. "He did not display shock ... he welcomed the news and agreed that he is going to participate in the process and the formalities."

Mr Mbeki will be given space to participate in a range of activities, including in the parliamentary process of selecting a president and in his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mantashe assured the nation that the process will unfold as smoothly as possible.

He said there was no decision taken on an early election.

"There was a strong view that we should, but we said we don't need to do that as yet. We agreed lets do one thing and settle it and ensure that there is stability."

Mr Mantashe said the party acknowledged "with deep admiration" the contribution the President had made to the country, during his term of office.

"President Mbeki has overseen the largest economic growth period in the country," Mr Mantashe said.

The NEC of the ANC has been meeting in Esselen Park in Kempton Park since Friday to discuss Mr Mbeki's future following inferences made by Judge Chris Nicholson that there might have been political interference in the decision to prosecute ANC President Jacob Zuma. - BuaNews

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