Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Zuma triggers crisis by refusing ANC's exit order

Zuma triggers crisis by refusing ANC's exit order

South African President Jacob Zuma broke his silence Wednesday to disagree with the ruling party's order to resign and say he'd done nothing wrong, setting the stage for his nearly certain ouster in a parliamentary vote on Thursday after years of corruption scandals.

At a press conference on Tuesday, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said, "In its wisdom the ANC resolved to recall president Zuma in accordance with its constitution".

Pressure has been piling on for Zuma to step down since his deputy Ramaphosa was elected party leader in December 2017.

Zuma faces hundreds of allegations of corruption, more than 780 of which relate to a 1990s arms deal alone.

Zuma was set to address South Africans at 10:00 on Wednesday, but this did not happen.

Mr Mthembu suggested that an election for a new president, who is selected by representatives in parliament, could occur immediately after the no confidence vote if the chief justice, who has to preside, is available. Opposition parties are calling for another vote of no confidence against Zuma next week.

He said Zuma had agreed to resign and wanted to stay in office for several more months, but the party's executive committee decided he had to leave at once.

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But with the 2019 general elections looming, the ANC has turned against Zuma and has said that the tumult over the President's scandals was tarnishing the party's name and bringing instability to the country. Zuma had promised to respond to the order by Wednesday, Magashule said. Neither of these appeared to yet be in play for the ANC, although the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party has already submitted a motion for a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

Zuma often claims the ANC will "rule until Jesus comes back," but South Africans are showing appetite for something else.

South Africa's chief prosecutor is expected to make a decision on whether to prosecute Mr Zuma on the old charges, which were reinstated past year after being thrown out in 2009.

His term has also been linked to a patronage network that has at its centre a family of Indian-born businessmen, the Gupta brothers. The Guptas have business links to Zuma and his family and a string of witnesses say they had influence over lucrative state contracts and appointments.

Alleging he was being victimised, he said, "It was very unfair to me that this (resignation) issue is raised".

"President Zuma has not been found guilty in any court of law and when we took these decisions we did not take these decisions because comrade Zuma has done anything wrong", he said.

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