On this day 14 years ago, President Thabo Mbeki sacked Deputy-President Jacob Zuma. Mbeki made the announcement during a special joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament, almost two weeks after Zuma was implicated in corruption.
The decision to fire him came after a meeting of the ANC's extended national working committee at its headquarters at Luthuli House. This had followed Mbeki's consultations with senior party leaders, including those in the provinces.
Zuma declined to resign, thereby forcing the then-president to fire him.
ANC insiders said Mbeki had little choice but to act firmly following the damning judgment in the trial of Shaik, Zuma's financial adviser. The ruling by Judge Hilary Squires confirmed that Zuma and Schabir Shaik had a "generally corrupt relationship".
Shaik was found guilty of corruption for paying Zuma R1.2 million to further their relationship, for soliciting a bribe from the French arms company Thomson-CSF, as well as fraud for writing off more than R1 million of Zuma’s unpaid debts.
Zuma stepped down from his seat in Parliament, but remained deputy-president of the ANC.
Another senior ANC member correctly predicted that Mbeki's decision would have significant implications for the party in the future.
A few years later, at the ANC elective conference in Polokwane, Jacob Zuma was elected president of the party, while Thabo Mbeki was recalled.
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