S. African deputy president confirms discussing with Zuma over his "stepping down"

08 February, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • SOWETO SOUTH AFRICA – DECEMBER 18 President Jacob Zuma during the announcement of new party leadership at the 5th African National Congress national conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre

South Africa's leader-in-waiting vowed a "speedy resolution" to the country's political paralysis amid the first indications that President Zuma had promised to quit.

President Jacob Zuma will resign as soon as a list of preconditions has been finalised, in a deal struck on Tuesday between Zuma and African National Congress (ANC) leader Cyril Ramaphosa and confirmed by sources on Tuesday night.

Zuma changed his cabinet again in March to get replace Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, a move that led ratings companies to cut the nation's credit assessment to junk.

Amid rumours and reports of his imminent resignation president Jacob Zuma's office said he would be chairing routine meetings of Cabinet committees as scheduled on Wednesday.

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It also said Zuma would officiate at an awards ceremony in the city on Saturday. Other options for his removal include impeachment proceedings in parliament or a vote on an opposition-sponsored motion of no confidence that is scheduled for February 22.

EFF Secretary-General Godrich Gardee said: "If Mr Zuma has not resigned by Monday at 14h00, it (the motion of no confidence) should actually be debated the following day".

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which promotes the legacy of South Africa's anti-apartheid icon, has called for Mr Zuma to go as he had "demonstrated that he is not fit to govern".

Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete said that the address had been delayed because there was "little likelihood" that it would be held without disruption.

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They've started calling it "Zexit" here - the long, fractious process of nudging President Jacob Zuma out of his job.

Zuma still retains the support of a faction within the ANC but has seen several prominent party allies desert him recently. Mr Ramaphosa has associated himself with an anti-corruption drive.

In previous years, opposition lawmakers have shouted Mr Zuma down and been ejected from parliament by security guards in chaotic scenes.

That appeared to be borne out at the 2016 local elections, when the ANC lost ground to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

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Then there is also the country's struggling economy, with the unemployment rate rising to about 28%.

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