Jacob Zuma's fate to be decided at South African ruling party meeting


In South Africa, the ruling party Africa National Congress' National Executive Committee is meeting today to resolve a growing crisis over the fate of president Jacob Zuma.

During the last attempt, in August, the president's opponents fell short by only 24 votes after some lawmakers from Zuma's own African National Congress (ANC) party voted against him.

Sunday's rally was part of ANC celebrations marking 100 years since Nelson Mandela's birth - as well as efforts by Ramaphosa to try to revive the party's tainted reputation ahead of next year's general election.

"We must keep our eyes on what is in the interests of all our people", he said, to the applause of thousands of ANC supporters.

In a speech which also marked 28 years to the day since Mandela was released from an apartheid-era prison, Ramaphosa said the talks on Zuma's future should be handled in an orderly, purposeful manner, "in Madiba's way of doing things", - using Mandela's clan name.

So, if he so wishes, Mr Zuma can carry on as president of South Africa even if the NEC asks him to step down.

Most analysts expect that the deadlock will be resolved soon, with Mr. Zuma bowing to the new reality and allowing ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa to replace him. The Head of the ANC is certain that Zuma is headed for the door, probably because he has pushed him towards it.

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Since becoming president in 2009, Zuma has been dogged by scandal. "It offers us an opportunity to return our struggle to the path along which Nelson Mandela led us". Outside the ANC, opposition parties and civil society are baying for Zuma's blood.

Mandla Mandela, the former president's grandson who attended the rally, said the ANC's unity had to be preserved through the transition.

It is understood that a key sticking point in the negotiations is the potentially ruinous legal fees Zuma is facing from prolonged court battles against multiple criminal cases. He is fighting the reinstatement of 783 counts of corruption over a 30 billion-rand (now $2.5 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s when he was deputy president.

There are critical portfolios where people will need to be moved because they are either incapable or compromised by state capture and corruption.

"Section 102 states that 'If the National Assembly‚ by a vote supported by a majority of its members‚ passes a motion of no confidence in the President‚ the President and the other members of the Cabinet and any Deputy Ministers must resign‚'" said Lekota.

Zuma has not spoken publicly since being asked to resign by senior ANC officials on February 4.