Pressure is mounting to unseat President Jacob Zuma, with calls from some leaders requesting him to step down voluntarily, or risk a ‘recall’ by his party.
Zuma’s fate hangs in the balance with both the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC and parliament assessing his fitness to hold office.
According to local reports, the newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is ready to take up office as soon as possible, in a bid to ‘clean up’ the mess ahead of the 2019 national elections.
“A lieutenant of Ramaphosa’s said the idea was to get Zuma to agree to leave before the NEC meeting on Wednesday, to avoid it descending into a confrontation about his future,” the City Press reported.
Analysts however say if Zuma refuses to step down willingly, it would be difficult for Ramaphosa to bring him down on his own.
“Zuma survived for as long as he did because of the support base he has in the ANC. It would be much easier to get rid of Ramaphosa.”
There are plans to boycott Ramaphosa’s maiden statement as ANC leader at the upcoming party celebrations in East London, indicating that he is simply not powerful enough in the party, wrote the Citizen.
Moreover, local die-hard Zuma supporters such as the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) warned that Zuma’s removal as the head of state would cost ANC votes in rural areas. The move will also divide the governing party, a poor development of events as elections draw near.
Ramaphosa has taken upon himself to appeal to locals. On Sunday, and Monday he met with the party’s rival groupings in the province paying homage to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and past ANC presidents from the province.
If Ramaphosa manages to get Zuma ‘recalled’, from the presidential position, it will be a repeat of what happened to Thabo Mbeki in 2009. Ramaphosa will then take up presidential powers and deliver the State of the Nation Address in parliament next month.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward