S. Africa Veteran Calls for President to Step Down

S. Africa Veteran Calls for President to Step DownS. Africa Veteran Calls for President to Step Down

Lifelong South African rights activist and former Mandela advisor, Ahmed Kathrada has called for President Zuma to leave the government.

A court has ruled that Zuma misused public funds to upgrade his private home.

The 86-year-old, who was jailed with Nelson Mandela in the 1960s, asked Zuma to “submit to the will of the people” following a Thursday court ruling that declared the president had violated the constitution, DPA reported.

“Today I appeal to our president to submit to the will of the people and resign,” said Kathrada in an open letter published by local media.

Kathrada further warned Zuma that he should be aware that his “outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle stands to be severely tarnished if the remainder of your term as president continues to be dogged by crises, and a growing public loss of confidence in the ANC and government as a whole.”

He was referring to the ruling African National Congress party, of which Zuma is currently head and Kathrada is a longtime member.

South Africa’s Constitutional Court found Zuma guilty of having used public funds to renovate his private home, a property valued at some $24 million in 2014. He added a swimming pool and a cattle enclosure but wrote them off as necessary “security” measures.

After long denying that he had done anything wrong, Zuma apologized for the transgression, the latest in a series of scandals to hit his presidency. But he has so far refused to step down.

The South African leader continues to face criticism over his close relationship with wealthy business magnates from the influential Gupta family, who are said to play an undue role in shaping policy.

A member of South Africa’s ethnic Indian population, Kathrada began working as a peace and anti-Apartheid activist as a teenager. In 1964, he was sentenced alongside Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, and several others to life imprisonment for continuing the activities of the then-banned ANC.

Like Mandela, Kathrada spent his time in jail on the infamous Robben Island and was finally released in 1990.