Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Zuma's fate in hands of South Africa ruling party's top body

Zuma's fate in hands of South Africa ruling party's top body

The statement said on the basis of the progress made, a special meeting of the ANC NEC (National Executive Committee) that had been scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.

South African President Jacob Zuma (left) and Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's deputy president, look on during the 54th national conference of the African National Congress party in Johannesburg on December 17, 2017.

The ANC's former head of intelligence, Mr Zuma took power in May 2009 and clung to office through a series of scandals with the aid of his allies who controlled most key positions in the party and government.

He has not said whether he will resign voluntarily before his second term as president ends next year.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is on the brink of resigning after cancelling his annual state of the union address as calls for him to go grow ahead of a crucial ANC meeting later today. Zuma also faces the possibility of the reinstatement of the decade-old corruption and racketeering charges by the end of the month.

This is exactly the kind of uncertainty that has seen confidence in South Africa plummet in the last few years of Zuma's presidency. But on Tuesday, two days before this year's address, parliamentary leaders abruptly announced that it would be postponed.

Many in the ANC want him gone as soon as possible so they can rebuild the party's standing.

The power struggle has rocked the ANC, the much-celebrated liberation party which led the fight against white-minority rule but has since lost much of its public support. They are said to have failed to convince him to stand aside.

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But many questions remain as to how exactly he will leave the president's office or who will step in as the new president. ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu confirmed to The Sowetan the special caucus meeting would go ahead as planned.

As Fr Russell Pollitt, Director of the Jesuit Institute South Africa told Linda Bordoni, Zuma has repeatedly resisted calls to quit over corruption allegations.

Since winning the party presidency, he has spoken about providing Zuma with a dignified exit.

The divisions Zuma's leadership has exposed within the ANC were evident outside the party's headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday (Tuesday NZT), where the president's supporters and opponents staged rival protests amid a strong police presence.

Previous State of Nation addresses by Zuma have seen an outpouring of anger by his critics. Zuma has survived nine votes of no-confidence, but his party has increasingly split over his unpopularity, and another no-confidence motion is scheduled for February 22.

"If he doesn't resign following a recall then it will be a very chaotic situation", Ben Payton, analyst for the London-based Maplecroft consultancy, told AFP.

It is understood that the ANC's Working Committee had asked for the address, which traditionally marks the opening of parliament, to be postponed until Zuma resigned.

"After almost 24 years of ANC rule, the government hasn't fundamentally changed the structure of the South African economy or business environment", Vandome said.

Zuma has been embroiled in scandals, including multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home with state money and his association with the Guptas, a business family accused of looting state enterprises and influencing Cabinet ministers for their own benefit.

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