Jacob Zuma, president, South Africa

Zuma did not threaten to challenge his removal by ANC in court, top party official

THE Secretary-General of South Africa’s ANC said President Jacob Zuma did not threaten to challenge his removal by the party in court, as speculated by local media. Ace Magashule, the sribe of the ANC, told a news conference that Zuma would respond by Wednesday on the decision to “recall” him.

“President Jacob Zuma has behaved like a leader of the ANC. He has never threatened us with any court action, not at all. He did in fact confirm that he would respond by tomorrow.”

ANC ordered Jacob Zuma to step down as head of state after marathon talks over the fate of a leader whose scandal-plagued years in power darkened and divided Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid ‘Rainbow Nation’.

Leading members of the African National Congress now want new party leader Cyril Ramaphosa to replace Zuma as president, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule told a news conference.

The party’s national executive was split on precisely when Zuma should go, Magashule added, leaving the president’s immediate fate still hanging in the balance.

Zuma has been living on borrowed time since Ramaphosa, a union leader once tipped as Mandela’s pick to take over the reins, was elected as head of the 106-year-old ANC in December, narrowly defeating Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

In spite of the damning decision to order Zuma’s “recall” – ANC-speak for ‘remove from office’ – domestic media have speculated that the 75-year-old might yet defy the party’s wishes, forcing it into the indignity of having to unseat him in parliament.

Shortly before midnight, the SABC state broadcaster said Zuma had been told in person by Ramaphosa that he had 48 hours to resign.

A senior party source later told Reuters Zuma had made clear that he was going nowhere.

“Ramaphosa went to speak with him,” the source said, adding that when Ramaphosa returned to the ANC meeting in a Pretoria hotel, the discussions were tense and difficult”.

“We decided to recall Zuma. He hasn’t been told yet,” the source said.

The ANC said it would hold a media briefing at 1000 GMT to reveal the results of the meeting. Zuma’s spokesman did not answer his mobile phone.

On Friday his wife Tobeka Madiba-Zuma posted comments on Instagram suggesting Zuma, who has challenged and defied attempts by the ANC and courts to rein him in, was prepared to fight and believed he was the victim of a Western conspiracy.

“He will finish what he started because he does not take orders beyond the Atlantic Ocean,” she said.

South Africa’s economy, the most sophisticated on the continent, has stagnated under Zuma’s nine-year tenure, with banks and mining firms reluctant to invest because of policy uncertainty and rampant corruption. (Reuters/NAN)

– Feb.  13, 2018 @ 16:35 GMT |

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