Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Zuma triggers crisis by refusing ANC's exit order

Zuma triggers crisis by refusing ANC's exit order

Ace Magashule, secretary-general of the African National Congress (ANC), said the party's national executive committee had made a decision to "recall" Mr Zuma, who has been discredited by a number of corruption scandals.

After a 13-hour meeting of the ANC's leadership, the party's secretary-general on Tuesday said Zuma should resign promptly and that a response is expected from the president on Wednesday.

The ANC has chose to tell President Jacob Zuma to step down after he refused the top party leadership's request for him to resign voluntarily, according to five people familiar with the matter.

South Africa's ruling African National Congress party announced Tuesday that it would press President Jacob Zuma to resign despite his adamant refusal to relinquish his post amid corruption scandals.

Opposition parties have clamoured for a debate on a motion of no confidence in the president, scheduled for February 22, to be brought forward so that Parliament could seal his fate.

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Zuma, a polygamous Zulu traditionalist with no formal education, has been living on borrowed time since Ramaphosa, a union leader and lawyer once tipped as Mandela's pick to take over the reins, was elected as head of the 106-year-old ANC in December.

As pressure for Zuma to step down mounts, opposition parties have called for the dissolution of the parliament.

Corruption scandals involving Zuma have sunk the popularity of the ANC, which holds stature as a key player that fought white minority rule and is credited with the dismantling of apartheid in 1991.

The ANC's former head of intelligence, Zuma, 75, took office in May 2009, just weeks after prosecutors dropped graft charges against him. He added that "I will be out" if parliament votes against him in a motion of no confidence as expected on Thursday.

Mr Magashule said the president had previously agreed to resign, but wanted to stay in office for several more months, a condition the party committee rejected.

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That meeting lasted less than an hour, with Zuma refusing to comply.

Signs of law enforcement mobilizing against the Guptas, and by association Zuma, caused the rand to strengthen 0.5 per cent against the dollar.

Under South Africa's national constitution, Zuma can not be forced out of office.

The President's term had been due to end next year.

The NEC can issue a recall - essentially a demand that Mr Zuma step down.

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In October, South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal moved to reopen almost 800 corruption charges against Zuma, related to a $2 billion government arms deal in the 1990s.

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