ANC leaders know that Jacob Zuma cost them votes – but no one will dare take him on.

This was the view of two ANC NEC members attending the party’s national executive committee meeting in Pretoria.

Zuma is likely to survive the weekend meeting of the ANC’s national executive unscathed.

While the SA Communist Party yesterday pushed for the party to consider if the Nkandla matter had cost it votes, some senior ANC members told Sowetan that Zuma will come out without being blamed.

The SACP said voters taught the ANC that struggle credentials won’t forever act as an excuse for arrogance.

Imposing unpopular and discredited candidates on communities for the purposes of gaining power in the party’s elective conference next year also contributed to the poor showing, the party said in a statement following the meeting of its political bureau on Monday.

The SACP, which has fallen out with Zuma, said the ANC leadership had to take collective responsibility – in all provinces and at Luthuli House – and “no individual should be blindly supported”.

“Is it true that only a black urban intelligentsia is concerned about Nkandla? In answering these questions, once again we need to avoid sectarian positioning, either blindly supporting an individual, or alternately imagining that the recall of this or that personality on its own will somehow solve all problems.”

But an ANC NEC member said yesterday it was unlikely that Zuma would be made to account for the party’s poor showing.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the majority in the NEC did not want to take on Zuma.

“Everybody knows what the problem is, but very few people have the appetite to confront the elephant in the room [Zuma]. People are thinking that if they speak out they are going to lose their trappings [of power],” he said.

He said many in the NEC wanted to be in Zuma’s good books, which was the “hypocrisy of our politics, especially when it comes to Number One [Zuma]”.

The ANC Youth League and the Umkhonto weSizwe Veterans Association have already said Zuma can’t be blamed for the election results.

Speaking on the sidelines of the NEC meeting, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the removal of Zuma, which the EFF has demanded, was not on the agenda.

“I will never put a precondition to any party and say remove your leader. If it’s done to us then at least we must deal with it in the negotiations, it does not set the agenda for the NEC.

Article By George Matlala For the Sowetan