UPDATE: South Africa's Ruling Party Recalls Zuma, Hopes He Will Resign

CAPE TOWN (Alliance News) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress has recalled ...

Alliance News 13 February, 2018 | 3:09PM
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CAPE TOWN (Alliance News) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress has recalled scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma after failing to convince him to step down.

However, Tuesday's widely expected decision to recall the president is a symbolic gesture aimed at pressuring Zuma to resign.

Only the National Assembly has the constitutional power to remove the president from office, either through impeachment or through a motion of no confidence, currently scheduled for February 22.

"The country's challenges require urgent and resolute responses," ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule told journalists in Johannesburg.

The ANC's executive committee decided to recall Zuma in accordance with the party's constitution, Magashule said, adding that he was expecting the 75-year-old to issue a response by Wednesday.

"The recall measure has no legal force, but if Zuma refuses to leave office he will face a vote of confidence in parliament which he is certain to lose," said global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft researcher Ben Payton.

"The ANC's decision to recall Jacob Zuma is a political death sentence from which there can be no escape," Payton added.

South Africa's main opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA), criticized the way in which the ANC is planning to remove Zuma.

"This recall is an internal ANC resolution, and nothing more. It has no effect on Jacob Zuma's current status as president of the republic, and can be simply ignored by Zuma," said DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

Maimane demanded that the motion of no confidence be brought forward to this week to expedite Zuma's exit.

The ANC announcement on Tuesday came after a 13-hour closed-door National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that ended in the early hours of the morning but failed to persuade Zuma to go.

During the meeting, Zuma had agreed "in principle" to step down, proposing timeframes for his resignation between three to six months, said Magashule.

The NEC turned down Zuma's proposal because "South Africa is going through a period of uncertainty and anxiety" caused by the ongoing power struggle for the presidency that needed a faster solution, Magashule added.

The ANC was "determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urgent economic recovery," he said.

Talks about Zuma's removal started at top levels of the ANC on February 4, with South Africans anxiously awaiting a decision about the man who has been their leader since 2009.

Zuma has been weakened by a serious of corruption scandals, one involving a wealthy Indian family, the Guptas, who were granted lucrative business deals and possibly even influenced ministerial appointments.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected to lead the ANC in December after Zuma's second term as party president ended, is expected to succeed Zuma as South Africa's president.

By Kristin Palitza, dpa

Copyright dpa

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