ANC senior member and former MP Derek Hanekom has confirmed meeting with the EFF to oust former president Jacob Zuma but has denied that he intended to form a breakaway party.
Hanekom said he met with EFF secretary general Gordrich Gardee to discuss a looming motion of no confidence in Zuma set down for February last year.
“Yes, I confirmed that I met with Gordrich Gardee on his request. We were all [MPs] talking to each other from 2017 because the country was in crisis,” said Hanekom.
“I had already asked the NEC [ANC national executive committee] for him to step down but didn’t succeed but after Nasrec [elective conference] we did succeed. Remember the final decision [for Zuma to step down] came from the ANC. The country was worried, including the EFF.”
Hanekom told Sowetan that he and Gardee first met at Mugg & Bean in Eastgate, and went to have further meetings. He said that they met three times but he denied claims that he provided the EFF with a list of MPs who were going to vote against Zuma.
“Yes of course, we had met to share concerns but did I give him a list? I didn’t. He had his own estimate of who will vote from his party should it come to a motion,” said Hanekom, reiterating that Gardee initiated the meeting.
Hanekom’s comments came after EFF leader Julius Malema revealed the former minister had worked with his party to get rid of Zuma. Zuma’s spokesperson Vukile Mathabela said the former president wished to reserve his comment as the matter is “an internal ANC matter and he would prefer to engage it internally”.
Zuma resigned a day before parliament was scheduled to vote on a motion of no confidence against him. It had become obvious that ANC MPs had a mandate to vote with the opposition to oust him.
A recording of an audio clip of ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile had surfaced in which he told investors at a Mining Indaba that the motion was going to be successful.
Malema, addressing a crowd outside the high court in Pretoria, alleged that Hanekom, during his meeting with Gardee, said that he was planning a breakaway party should Cyril Ramaphosa not emerge as president at the ANC’s 54th national conference in Nasrec.
This, Hanekom, said was laughable and that Malema’s breakaway party allegations were part of his plan to target public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.
“Why would I discuss such with him? Malema said [all] that because he’s targeting two people… Pravin and me because I’m protecting Pravin. He’s targeting Solly [Mapaila] as well,” said Hanekom.
The SACP said it was never a secret that its first deputy secretary general Mapaila was calling for Zuma to step down and that he was in support of the motion against him.