South Africa's Zuma holds talks with likely successor as exit looms

08 February, 2018, 16:16 | Author: Lucy Floyd
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Zuma and his deputy, the ruling party's new leader, have been meeting behind closed doors on what Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa calls "closure".

Mr Ramaphosa, who promised to fight corruption when campaigning to be the ANC's next leader, will be its candidate in South Africa's presidential election.

But the NEC meeting (scheduled for Wednesday), which Mashatile assured investors was being held to recall Zuma was called off at the last minute on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation urged Mr Zuma to step down.

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The next 14 days leading up to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's budget speech may be the busiest yet for government as it prepares to either announce President Jacob Zuma's departure - or its failure to pry the keys to the country from his tenacious grip.

"The president of the ANC (Ramaphosa) released a statement yesterday [Wednesday] and we have also released a statement to say that there are constructive and fruitful discussions between President Zuma and president Ramaphosa and, in due course, we will know how those discussions are going", said Magashule.

The 75-year-old has been South Africa's most controversial president since the end of white-minority rule in 1994, overseeing a tumultuous nine years marked by economic decline and numerous allegations of corruption.

In previous years, opposition lawmakers have shouted Zuma down and been ejected from the chamber by security guards in a melee of flying fists.

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ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile revealed that President Jacob Zuma was prepared to go through a motion of no confidence vote in the National Assembly or even impeachment proceedings.

"We will be able to communicate on President Zuma's position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters", Ramaphosa said.

Despite the attacks on him, Mr Zuma still enjoys some backing within the party, particularly among rural members and within his own Zulu community. Many former supporters who have turned against Zuma have anxious that he is digging in or at least trying to make a deal, possibly including immunity from prosecution, in exchange for his resignation.

The local rand currency, which has been the world's best performing unit since Mr Ramaphosa's election as ANC chief on December 18, was slightly down on the day, recording a fall of 0.2 percent against the dollar at 11.95.

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