South African President Jacob Zuma’s attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018 is in doubt as he faces growing pressure to resign
South African President Jacob Zuma’s attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018 is in doubt as he faces growing pressure to resign.
Senior leaders of his own party, the African National Congress (ANC), met with Zuma over the weekend of February 3-4 to ask him to step down, as the President fights against corruption allegations.
One of the party’s highest decision-making bodies, the national working committee, will meet on February 5 to consider its next step as Zuma refused to step down and continues to deny allegations of corruption.
According to the rules of the ANC party, one possibility could be that Zuma is ordered to resign, as all members fulfil their role according to the party’s will, even elected officials.
This may, however, raise constitutional issues.
A premature departure by the 75 year old politician, who is due to remain in his second five-year term until 2019, would consolidate the power of ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa and his supporters say it is essential that Zuma is removed to allow the party to regroup before campaigning begins for the 2019 elections.
ANC remains the dominant party in South African politics but its popularity has dropped following a failure to address and help the country’s poorest.
It is the party that led South Africa to Independence in 1994 and has ruled ever since, with Zuma leading since 2007 and serving as President since 2009.
A series of corruption scandals surrounding the politician and undermining the party’s legitimacy lost the party’s control of several cities in municipal elections in 2016, and it may be forced into a coalition following the vote in 2019.
The President is still expected to address the opening of parliament in Cape Town on February 8, despite calls by party members and major opposition party the Democratic Alliance for the address to be postponed.
ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile made a press statement on February 2, saying that Zuma should step down, whilst opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters called for another no-confidence motion, which will be held on February 22.
On the current uncertainty, ANC leader Ramaphosa said that South Africa was coming out of a period of darkness and into a new phase.