South African President Zuma's Fate To Be Decided Today, Says ANC Head


Zuma was replaced as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in December and no longer holds a top position in the party.

"We know you want closure on this matter", Ramaphosa said while launching centenary celebrations in honor of late president Nelson Mandela at the Grand Parade in Cape Town.

Last year, S&P and Fitch downgraded the country's sovereign credit rating after Mr Zuma fired the finance minister over political infighting.

The group called themselves the concerned ANC members who love their organisation and would love to save it.

With Zuma refusing a party request to resign, the ANC has said its top decision-making committee will meet on Monday, without revealing what will be on the agenda.

While the National Executive Committee (NEC), has the power to demand that Zuma step down, it does not wield the constitutional power to push him out of office.

If the motion were held and a majority of legislators voted against Zuma, the entire Cabinet would also have to resign, dashing Ramaphosa's hopes of a carefully managed transition.

"We all know and anticipate that they are dealing with the current issue that is facing our country", Faiez Jacobs, the party's provincial secretary, told eNCA television. He claimed that the group tried to persuade Zuma to go, but the president refused.

Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old lawyer and one of the richest black South Africans, has pledged to revive the flagging economy and clamp down on the corruption that Zuma's critics say have become synonymous with his rule.

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The ANC leader said on Wednesday he and Zuma were holding direct talks over the transfer of power.

Maimane said if Ramaphosa could not remove Zuma‚ then either Parliament or South African voters must step in.

"We have no other choice but to continue fighting corruption" Ramaphosa said.

The meeting was, however, cancelled, after Ramaphosa said there was a "change of tone" from Zuma's side - and presumably this bought Zuma some time to negotiate his terms.

Most worrying for him is the expected reinstatement of 783 counts of corruption and fraud related to an arms deal.

Both men have been involved in talks around the South African president's voluntary resignation from office since last Tuesday, and public pressure on the ANC to finalise the matter increased as the dialogue dragged on. 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.

The speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete, has said she is considering their application. "We have further noted that certain individuals alleged to be ANC members, clad in ANC regalia, took part in an unmandated press briefing by the individuals in question earlier today".

Mr Ramaphosa has reportedly told ANC MPs that it is impossible to offer Mr Zuma immunity from prosecution.