Thursday, 19 July, 2018

South African ruling party leaders to meet amid Zuma limbo

President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town South Africa in this Nov. 2 2017 file President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town South Africa in this Nov. 2 2017 file
Ellis Copeland | 12 February, 2018, 13:54

African National Congress (ANC) leader Cyril Ramaphosa pulled out of public events to focus on 'pressing matters yesterday, fuelling speculation that Ramaphosa was making a final push to force Jacob Zuma to step down as South Africa's head of state.

The ruling ANC party's national executive committee will discuss Zuma's fate at a meeting Monday "and because our people want this matter to be finalized, the national executive committee will be doing precisely that", Ramaphosa said.

At a press briefing on Sunday, Hangwi Maumela, who claims to be an ANC branch member in Sandton, called for all South Africans to down tools on Monday until Zuma is removed as president of the country.

There have been growing calls for Zuma to resign as president of the country, and he has been locked in intense meetings with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa over the last week.

His spokesman could not be reached for comment. It was suggested that perhaps Mr. Ramaphosa was being mindful of likely ethnic-based violence in Kwazulu-Natal, where Mr. Zuma hails from, in the aftermath of a rash recall decision.

"But we have to respect (Zuma) as a former president of the ANC".

The future of the embattled president has been in doubt for some time.

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Pence also spent time at the Cheonan Memorial Friday, to honor a ship sunk by a North Korean torpedo attack in 2010. The North has refrained from further provocations since testing an intercontinental ballistic missile in November.


Taking to Instagram, Madiba-Zuma posted a picture of her and the president and captioned it "my everyday crush".

In my BusinessDay column ahead of the earlier scheduled February 8 State of the Nation Address (SONA) titled, "Dirty Zuma exit fight inevitable", I wondered what leverage Mr. Ramaphosa would have left if he were to allow Mr. Zuma deliver what is perhaps the most important speech in the political calendar. A court ruled previous year that the decision to drop the case - on the eve of Mr Zuma's election as South African president in 2009 - was "irrational" and the charges should be reinstated.

Ramaphosa was due to have his "take-it-or-leave it" meeting with Zuma alone.

Mr Zuma's race for the presidency was in its last stretch when prosecutors dropped the charges against him over the arms deal.

Some ruling party members have pushed for ANC leaders to demand that Zuma, who has denied any wrongdoing, resign.

First of all, a Pretoria court ordered Mr Zuma to set up a judicial inquiry into corruption claims against him and his associates, which he eventually did in January.

However, Zuma was still fighting at week's end, with one of his four wives going to social media to say people "should not fight with someone who isn't fighting", adding that things were about to "get hectic". Jacob knows it. He is out of time and out of options. The ANC is Africa's most prominent liberation movement and many veterans of the long struggle against apartheid worry that the corruption allegations against Zuma are undermining its legacy.

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