President Jacob Zuma appeared a step closer to resigning after the ANC delayed an emergency meeting to discuss whether to force him from office.
The decision by the national executive committee, the ANC’s top decision-making body, to postpone its meeting until later this month came after “constructive” talks between Zuma and deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, party spokesman Pule Mabe said late Tuesday. Ramaphosa replaced the president as leader of the ANC in December.
“My supposition is that the postponement of the NEC means the core issue around Zuma’s exit has been resolved and now they are ironing out the details,” Richard Calland, an analyst at risk advisory company the Pater Noster Group, said by phone from Cape Town.
Earlier, parliament decided to ask Zuma to delay his state-of-the-nation address scheduled for Thursday due to fears of violence, national assembly speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters outside parliament in Cape Town.
Ramaphosa has been cheered by many investors for his pledges to bolster growth, clamp down on graft and provide greater policy certainty. While the rand has been the best performer in the world against the dollar since his 18 December election as ANC leader, it was 0.3% weaker at R11.96/US$ at 7.54am in Johannesburg Wednesday.
The ANC’s former head of intelligence, Zuma took power in May 2009 and clung to office through a series of scandals with the aid of his allies who controlled most key positions in the party and government.
Since Ramaphosa beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s favoured successor and ex-wife, in the December vote for the party leadership, the president’s fortunes have waned. The legislature is due to debate a motion of no-confidence proposed by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters on 22 February.
‘Zuma is gone’
“Zuma is gone,” said Xolani Dube, a political analyst at the Xubera Institute for Research and Development in the port city of Durban. “I expect his resignation to be announced tomorrow.”
While Zuma has survived repeated attempts by the opposition in parliament to remove him from office and two previous votes in the NEC, this month would have been the first when he isn’t head of the ANC.
“Ramaphosa has sidelined President Zuma quicker than expected, prompting most of Zuma’s allies to withdraw their support,” Darias Jonker, an Africa analyst at risk advisory firm Eurasia Group, said by e-mail. “Zuma will likely leave office this month one way or the other.” — Reported by Paul Vecchiatto, Sam Mkokeli and Mike Cohen, with assistance from Amogelang Mbatha, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP