South Africa: Economists Project Dilemma Amid Zuma Stalemate

Pretoria — SOUTH AFRICA'S ruling African National Congress (ANC) has lurched into a quandary in its plans to force President Jacob Zuma out of office.

This is according to analysts as the stalemate in Africa's most advanced economy continued in the wake of the ANC "recalling" Zuma, president since 2009, a year after his predecessor Thabo Mbeki was also recalled.

It was unclear how Zuma was going to respond to the ANC National Executive Committee's (NEC's) formal recall motion, which was decided in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but he was due to make a statement on Wednesday.

A media briefing where Zuma was to respond was cancelled.

Notably, according to analysts, the ANC's recall motion is merely an instruction from the party to one of its deployees and has no legally binding force.

Thus, the ANC summoned its parliamentary caucus to a meeting on Tuesday to discuss how to proceed in the event that Zuma rejected the NEC's recall motion and refuses to resign.

The next step for the ANC in the event of defiance by Zuma would be for the ANC to use the constitutionally mandated parliamentary process of a vote of no confidence, Absa Capital economists, Miyelani Maluleke and Peter Worthington, stated.

"In our view, the vote of no confidence route for removing Zuma poses political difficulties for the ANC since it would require the entire executive to resign, open the way for opposition parties to ramp up their current call for fresh elections, and give the EFF a fillip for having sponsored the motion that eventually succeeded in removing Zuma."

Thus, the ANC would prefer Zuma to step down voluntarily after the recall motion.

Zuma has previously said he would obey the instructions of the party but it is not clear whether he will be compliant or defiant.

"If the latter, South Africa is in for a further period of heightened political uncertainty," Absa Capital stated.

John Cairns, Currency strategist at the Rand Merchant Bank, meanwhile said the local currency (Rand) had not been inspired by the formal recall of Zuma.

"Nevertheless, after waiting for so long for such a major event, we still think that a formal resignation/removal will trigger some sharp gains, even if only temporarily," he said.

He added it remained unclear when exactly the president would move on but surely, now "everyone" expected Zuma to be out of office soon.

"So once again we wait and wait," Cairns said.

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