Jacob Zuma’s future as president of South Africa hangs in the balance as an increasing number of his governing party’s national executive committee members backed a motion for him to step down.
The move to oust Zuma has significant support in the NEC and it’s difficult to say whether he will survive as the nation’s president, said a senior party official who’s in a meeting of the group and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The committee has the power to order Zuma to resign as president of the country, not as leader of the ANC.
Tourism minister Derek Hanekom, who proposed the motion at the meeting of the committee on Saturday, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi and public works minister Thulas Nxesi asked Zuma to resign, the Johannesburg-based news agency News24 reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.
The three cabinet members were supported by the ANC chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, News24 said.
Zuma, 74, is scheduled to step down as leader of the ANC in December next year and his second term as president ends in 2019. Calls for him to quit have multiplied as political missteps and a feud with finance minister Pravin Gordhan over the tax collection agency roil markets. Compounding his woes is a top court ruling that he violated his oath of office by refusing to repay taxpayer funds spent on upgrading his private home.
South Africa moved closer to a junk credit rating after Fitch Ratings on Friday changed the outlook on its assessment to negative from stable and said that continued political instability could result in a downgrade. Political risks to the standards of governance and policy making have increased and will remain high at least until the ANC leadership election in December next year, Fitch said in an e-mailed statement.
Pressure on the president to resign has mounted since the graft ombudsman released a report on 2 November that implied Zuma may have let members of the Gupta family, who are his friends and in business with Zuma’s son, influence cabinet appointments, and called for a judicial inquiry commission to determine whether there had been any wrongdoing. Zuma and the Guptas deny intentionally violating any laws. — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP