President Jacob Zuma has until Tuesday 9 January to step down as head of state, or risk facing yet another motion of no confidence vote.
The President has already survived two motions of no confidence in the NEC, as well as eight in Parliament. This time, however, he will no longer be the leader of the ANC, and members in the Ramaphosa camp may be more willing to vote against the President, without fear of reprisal.
As it stands, Zuma may face a choice between voluntarily resigning, or facing public embarrassment by being forced out by his fellow party members, on public television. Either way, he would be vacating his position over a year earlier than he would have had he been able to complete his second term as President.
The economy has performed poorly during Zuma’s time as leader of South Africa, and credit ratings have been downgraded over the years, negatively impacting foreign investment, and therefore the livelihood of all of the country’s citizens.
There is great hope that the new ANC leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was voted in at the ANC’s recent National Conference, will have a positive impact on the country’s economic state, drawing from his extensive business experience.
Zuma’s preferred candidate for leader of the ANC, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, failed to garner more votes than Ramaphosa during the Conference. It is thought that she will still be given a position in the party’s new cabinet, in order to placate her supporters.
Numerous ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) members have stated that Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom is preparing a fresh motion of no confidence in President Zuma, which he plans to bring forth before the senior members of the ANC meet on 10 January.
The President is also facing calls to step down from the ANC’s alliance partners, the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).
Those in support of Ramaphosa feel that Zuma’s having been at the center of numerous controversies has hurt the ANC’s reputation in the eyes of the general public, as well as its performance in the 2016 municipal elections. They believe that this trend will continue into the country’s next general election, scheduled to take place during 2019. An early Zuma departure, they hope, will serve to strengthen confidence in the party’s ability to root out corruption, and lead the nation going forward.
For more information about the 2019 South African general election, click here.
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