Jean-Jacques Cornish

Puma’s backers take a defiant line against his sacking

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President Jacob Zuma’s supporters have taken a defiant air as leadership elements in the South African ruling alliance question the wisdom of keeping him on after the Constitutional Court found he’d flouted the country’s constitution.

A plan of action will be charted by the party’s national working committee meeting today and the ANC’s parliamentary caucus tomorrow.

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Veterans of the ANC’s anti-apartheid liberation struggle and party activists who served jail time with Nelson Mandela are among those calling on President Jacob Zuma to do the honourable thing and stand down.

The South African Communist Party says the apology made by Zuma and his undertaking to repay public money spend on non security upgrades to his private home are not enough.

But Zuma and his backers warned the party’s top leadership at their meeting last Friday of dire consequences for ANC local and national representatives if he is fired.

They says MPs job security will be endangered by Zuma’s departure.

This would play directly into the hands of opposition parties with municipal elections due next month.

Opposition parties will claim victory if Zuma is sacked as party leader which makes him the country’s president.

Sources in the leadership meeting say the consensus seem to be to maintain a unified front at least until after the local government elections.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.