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South African ruling party leaders meet amid Zuma limbo

14 February 2018

Meanwhile, after a special meeting yesterday at Irene outside Pretoria, the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC) has, according to reports, made a decision to recall Zuma from the Presidency.

After being the subject of several "no-confidence" votes in recent years, Zuma has as resisted pressure to resign and has remained as president after repeated corruption allegations.

The official opposition leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, said Monday that his party rejected any kind of compromise deal that would allow Zuma to step aside peacefully and avoid prosecution.

Sources said they also argued that "everyone in the movement did not agree with a recall". Zuma, who has served as South Africa's president since 2009, has insisted on seeing out the end of his term in mid-2019.

The party's new leader, Cyril Ramaphosa has been attempting to get him to stand aside in the weeks since.

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He is said to have argued that in light of the state capture inquiry investigating Zuma's relationship with the Guptas, threat of impeachment and a motion of no confidence against him, recalling him was "saving Zuma from himself".

The ANC - which was once led by anti-apartheid struggle leader Nelson Mandela - reportedly gave Zuma 48 hours to step down.

The party aims to remove Mr Zuma from power so deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa can take over straight away.

An opposition request for a no-confidence vote against Zuma, 75, this week was still being considered by the parliamentary speaker.

We can no longer keep South Africa waiting, said senior ANC official Paul Mashatile. Zuma has survived similar motions against him in the past, but many ruling party members now see him as a political liability and would likely vote against him.

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Schulz has also been criticized by fellow SPD politician and current Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel for pursuing the post. After initially declining a new coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, the party accepted it last week.

In 2008, Zuma's supporters pushed out then-president Thabo Mbeki via a similar "recall" over allegations of abuse of power.

The stalemate over his departure has left Africa's most developed economy in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled last week, including Thursday's State of the Nation address to Parliament.

A judicial commission is about to start a probe of alleged looting of state enterprises by Zuma's associates, and prosecutors are expected to announce soon whether they will reinstate corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago.

In 2016, South Africa's highest court ruled that Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.

The deputy in question was Jacob Zuma, who took over the presidency the following year.

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South African ruling party leaders meet amid Zuma limbo