The Scandal-Filled Tenure Of South African President Jacob Zuma

14 February, 2018, 19:25 | Author: Diane Mills
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The decision by the ANC, the party once led by Nelson Mandela, to announce the "recall" of Zuma was the culmination of a marathon meeting that stretched into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

After a 13-hour party meeting, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told Zuma on Monday to resign or face being ordered out of his role.

Despite the damning decision to order Zuma's "recall" - ANC-speak for "remove from office" - domestic media have speculated that the 75-year-old might yet defy the party's wishes, forcing it into the indignity of having to unseat him in parliament. South Africa's chief prosecutor is expected to make a decision on whether to prosecute Zuma on the old charges, which were reinstated a year ago after being thrown out in 2009. As the new president, Ramaphosa would not have the power to grant Zuma immunity from prosecution.

It is unclear how Zuma would respond to the formal request to step down, which was expected to be issued later on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa is poised to become acting president if Zuma leaves office, and likely would be elected president in a parliamentary vote that must happen no more than 30 days after Zuma's exit.

Known for being an astute political operator, Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes in parliament and until early February believed he would survive another.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told reporters that Zuma had "agreed in principle to resign" and had proposed leaving in three to six months - a delay that the party rejected.

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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.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has sent a letter to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema informing him that she has made a decision to reschedule the motion of no confidence in President Zuma for Thursday 15 February at 2pm.

The stalemate has plunged South Africa - Africa's most developed economy - into uncertainty over who is running the country, with a series of public events cancelled last week including the annual State of the Nation address to parliament.

The deputy in question was Jacob Zuma, who took over the presidency the following year.

A judicial commission could soon begin to examine allegations of influence peddling and illegal contracts to Zuma cronies.

He also faces more than 783 allegations of corruption relating to a 1990s arms deal.

In another scandal, South Africa's top court ruled in 2016 that Zuma violated the constitution following an investigation of multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home using state funds.

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