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South Africa's ANC holds emergency meeting on Zuma's future

06 February 2018

The ANC was the main anti-apartheid movement for decades and has led South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994, but its moral stature has diminished because of concerns about Zuma and wider problems of corruption and mismanagement.

On Monday, the ANC national working committee (NWC) met at Luthuli house to further discuss the president's future.

However, Mbete told journalists from the steps of the Parliament building that Parliament had made a decision to approach Zuma to propose the postponement "in order to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in Parliament".

Mbete and Modise said when they proposed the postponement to Zuma‚ he indicated to them that he had actually been in the process of writing to them with a similar proposal.

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The speaker of parliament said that the request to postpone Zuma's address "is receiving consideration".

The divisions Zuma's leadership has exposed within the ANC were evident outside the party's headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday (Tuesday NZT), where the president's supporters and opponents staged rival protests amid a strong police presence. "Go to him and say "look we're not booting you out but we think we can work better this way", he said.

Many ruling party members want Ramaphosa to become state president soon so that the party can try to recover lost popularity ahead of 2019 elections.

Kgalema Motlanthe, the ANC's then deputy president, stepped up to the plate to serve in his place until the party president - Zuma - assumed office following the general election in May 2009.

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Mr. Ramaphosa's supporters want him to deliver the annual state-of-the-nation speech because it would help persuade voters that the Zuma era is over.

"Jacob Zuma is not just a pushover", Xolani Dube, an analyst with the Xubera think-tank in Durban, told AFP.

So many corruption allegations have been brought against Zuma since he became the president of South Africa, but he has never been prosecuted for any.

Zuma faces hundreds of criminal charges, including corruption, racketeering and fraud linked to a 1999 multibillion-dollar government arms deal. Aside from presiding over South Africa's recent economic decline, Mr Zuma is accused of helping the wealthy Gupta business family to illegally secure lucrative state contracts worth billions of rand.

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Journalists reporting from the mining indaba had earlier tweeted that Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe had to cancel his appearance to attend an emergency meeting called by Zuma.

South Africa's ANC holds emergency meeting on Zuma's future