Jacob Zuma ‘close to resigning’
South African president postpones speech as calls for him to go grow ahead of crucial ANC meeting
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.
The Guardian says Zuma is “close to leaving office” following the “unprecedented measure” to call off the state of union which “underlines the crisis within the ruling African National Congress as the party tries to manage an increasingly chaotic transfer of power from the incumbent president to his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa”.
Senior ANC leaders met Zuma over the weekend and urged him to step down for the sake of the party and country, but the embattled president has so far refused to go.
He has faced numerous allegations of corruption and bribery over the years which have dogged his premiership and badly hurt the perception of the ANC among voters.
Now the ANC’s national executive committee, the party’s top decision-making body, will meet to decide his fate, although it remains unlikely they will formally ask for him to resign as “this may raise significant constitutional issues”, says The Guardian.
Zuma, who is not due to stand down as president until after next year’s election, has become increasingly sidelined since the closely fought election of Ramaphosa as leader in December.
A protege and preferred successor of Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen as the standard bearer of the party’s reformist wing and his supporters claim Zuma must be removed as soon as possible to allow the party to regroup ahead of elections in 2019.
However, the ANC is effectively split down the middle between supporters of Ramaphosa and his defeated leadership rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who also happens to be Zuma’s wife.