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Secrecy on president's exit bad for South Africa, group says

09 February, 2018, 04:54 | Author: John Swanson
  • Zuma’s wife Tobeka speaks

Cape Town - Less than two months after taking over the leadership of South Africa's ruling party, Cyril Ramaphosa is facing a key test of his authority: President Jacob Zuma just won't go away.

The top decision making body of South Africa's ruling party has postponed a meeting Wednesday called to decide on whether to force President Jacob Zuma from office. Sticking points could include concerns over possible prosecution for corruption allegations that remain against Zuma.

They have given the ANC until Sunday to get rid of him.ANC leaders were yesterday still in the dark regarding the "de al" that Ramaphosa and Zuma have agreed on. However news that Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been postponed in the 11 th hour, has furthered the assumptions that his near term departure may be imminent.

Ramaphosa said direct talks were an opportunity to reach an agreement without spreading discord or division.

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ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule referred the media to ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa's statement on Wednesday, in which Ramaphosa had said he had constructive and fruitful discussions with Zuma "and, in due course, we will know how that discussion is going".

But he faces a new confidence-vote in parliament against his leadership on February 22 filed by the opposition far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF).

Indications are that if President Zuma refuses to resign, a motion of no-confidence sponsored by the ANC would be used to seal his fate.

A Reuters poll of 40 currency strategists in the past three days suggested the rand will weaken almost 6% against the greenback this year to 12.70 per dollar, having tightened up by 13% since the week before the December ANC leadership conference. They are said to have failed to convince him to stand aside.

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A protracted and messy exit for Zuma won't go down well with investors, who are counting on Ramaphosa to fulfil his pledge to revive the flagging economy, create greater policy certainty and clamp down on the alleged corruption that's characterised Zuma's administration. A series of leaked emails previous year suggested the Gupta family, who are friends of Zuma and in business with his son, had advance knowledge of Nene's firing and influenced other cabinet appointments.

Zwelithini is the influential traditional head of South Africa's biggest ethnic group, with around 10 million first-language Zulu speakers out of a total population of around 55 million, but he holds no role in government.

Despite the attacks on him, Mr Zuma still enjoys some backing within the party, particularly among rural members and within his own Zulu community.

The postponement of SONA was seen as an indication that Zuma might resign soon.

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