13 February 2018

South Africa: Taxi for Jacob Zuma ?

Photo: Le Pays
Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma's days in office as South Africa's President look to be numbered as his party shows him the exit.

South Africa's ruling ANC party resolved Tuesday to oust scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma from office after he refused to resign, local media reported following marathon closed-door talks.

The party's powerful 107-member national executive committee (NEC) met for 13 hours at a hotel outside Pretoria, and decided it would "recall" Zuma from his post, several local media outlets said.

"It took a brutal 13 hours, but the ANC's national executive committee has decided to recall President Jacob Zuma as head of state," the Times Live news website said, citing unnamed sources in the talks.

Other media reported that the party would write to Zuma ordering him to stand down as president, after his request for a few more months in office was rejected.

State broadcaster SABC said the ANC had given Zuma 48 hours to turn in his resignation.

Our Pretoria correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish confirmed this telling us "I've had confirmation from somebody close to the talks that they have in fact given Jacob Zuma 48 hours to resign. There's a process after that, because although they can recall him, they don't have any constitutional power to lift the president so there might need to be another process if Zuma digs his heels in but it would seem that it would be very very difficult for him to do this.

"I think he's played his last card, and I think that Jacob Zuma is going to have to meet the deadline from the National executive committee."

ANC officials were not reachable to confirm the reports, but the party called a press conference for 12:00 pm (1000 GMT) at its headquarters in Johannesburg.

The ANC can "recall" the head of state, essentially forcing him to step down, but the process is a party-level instruction and he is under no constitutional obligation to obey.

If he refuses, he would then likely be ousted via a parliamentary vote of no-confidence within days.

Opposition paties are demanding early elections whatever the outcome. Though our correspondent says this is unlikely.

"They're saying 'we cannot have this parliament, the people have to decide on a new one, on a new government entirely.' Of course, the absolute majority that the ANC has in Parliament is probably going to put the kibosh on that."

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