Media statement: time is of the essence – Zuma must go

It is 14 months since the Nelson Mandela Foundation first called for President Jacob Zuma to resign. We have now reached a point where South Africans can no longer wait for him to do so.

From December we have watched, sometimes in disbelief, as the floodgates of testimony have opened. Hearings, investigations, enquiries and other forms of disclosure are providing overwhelming evidence that systematic looting by patronage networks linked to President Zuma have betrayed the country Nelson Mandela dreamed of as he took his first steps of freedom 28 years ago.

President Zuma has abused the trust of South Africans. He must go sooner rather than later; time is of the essence. To delay now will lead to more of the ugly scenes of violent conflict we saw yesterday. We call for calm and respect for the rule of law during all protest actions related to the President.

President Zuma must go not in order to shore up the governing party’s election prospects for 2019, but because he has demonstrated that he is not fit to govern. We call on the state to hold him accountable for his actions – some things cannot be pardoned.

It would be a mistake, of course, to think that the removal of one person will address what is now deep-rooted and systemic corruption. The challenge is to identify and uproot multiple networks at different levels.

We applaud the work already being done by the governing party and the state in acting against such networks. This work will require years of endeavour, and we call on all South Africans to commit to supporting it. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is making that commitment.