ANC meets to ‘finalise’ embattled Zuma exit

Jo’burg, Monday

South Africa’s ruling ANC met today to “finalise” the departure of embattled President Jacob Zuma after party chief Cyril Ramaphosa promised to bring “closure” to deadlocked talks. Ramaphosa said at a party rally in Cape Town on Sunday he wanted to replace “a period of difficulty, disunity and discord” with “a new beginning” for the party.

“We know you want this matter to be finalised,” he said to rapturous cheering, vowing to tackle corruption that has tarnished Zuma’s government. Zuma has clung to power after rejecting a request by his party’s senior officials to resign a week ago.

The party’s powerful 107-member national executive committee (NEC) were called to a hotel outside Pretoria for a meeting scheduled to start at 2:00pm (1200 GMT). Cars carrying ANC leaders drew into the venue, but no official word was expected to confirm the closed-door meeting had started.

The committee could recall the president from office, though he would be under no constitutional obligation to obey the order. “We know you want closure,” Ramaphosa said on Sunday. “Because our people want this matter to be finalised, the NEC will be doing precisely that.”

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the committee was split, and warned some members facing corrupt allegations while serving Zuma were “not fighting for a principle or the ANC, it will be the basic instinct of self-preservation.”

“They will strive for consensus, but if that fails, it will go to a vote,” he told eNCA television. The stalemate over Zuma’s departure has left Africa’s most developed economy in limbor. —AFP

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