The ANC has announced that it will be recalling Jacob Zuma as president.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said that the ANC’s NEC decided to recall Zuma in the interests of bringing stability to the South African political landscape. Magashule however, did not give a time-frame as to when this process would happen.
According to Magashule, during deliberations Zuma on Monday, the president requested that he be given three to six months to vacate the office; however the ANC’s top six stressed that it needed to move with urgency, so as not to lose the momentum gained at the end of last year, when new leadership was elected.
South Africa has experienced an extended period of uncertainty around Zuma’s role as president in light of Cyril Ramaphosa’s victory in the party’s December conference where he emerged as its new leader.
The ANC’s top six reportedly approached Zuma in early February with a request that he step aside and allow for Ramaphosa to take power in preparation for the 2019 general elections. It was argued that the ANC could not unite behind a singular campaign while there were two centers of power in the party.
However, Zuma defiantly challenged the ANC’s leadership to try and remove him if they could, according to insiders.
This led to a succession of meetings being set up, postponed and behind the scenes talks taking place, which ultimately saw both the State of the Nation Address, as well as the emergency ANC NEC meeting meant to recall Zuma, being postponed over the past week.
Before the ANC’s announcement on Tuesday, the rand was trading around R11.94 to the dollar – a stronger position than the closes seen in the preceding week, where uncertainty over Zuma’s fate still lingered.
Shortly after the announcement the local unit traded in slightly negative territory against the major currencies.
- Dollar/Rand: R11.93 (0.07%)
- Pound/Rand: R16.57 (0.54%)
- Euro/Rand: R14.72 (0.42%)
It was a matter of time
The cards have been heavily stacked against the president, with markets already pricing in his exit into the rand. The currency had experienced the biggest emerging market climb since the start of the year, thanks predominantly to Ramaphosa’s rise, and more positive sentiment in the wake of his shift to fighting corruption and restoring business confidence.
However, Ramaphosa’s talk of cleaning up corruption has been stunted by Zuma’s evident firm grip on power, where many see the former ANC leader as the prime suspect in many dodgy dealings.
Zuma has been heavily implicated in state capture, where it has been alleged that the Gupta family – the central figures in the saga, and personal friends of the president – used their relationship and proximity to the top office to secure lucrative government contract. The president has also been hounded by fraud and corruption charges.
The full statement from the ANC is quoted below:
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) convened a special meeting on Monday, 12th February 2018 at the Saint George Hotel, Tshwane. The meeting was called to reflect on the current situation as it pertains to the position of the President of the Republic of South Africa, Comrade Jacob Zuma.
The NEC received a report from the Officials on their engagement with President Zuma. These engagements had been informed by the commitment to pursue firstly the interest of the country and the ANC and the determination to handle the matter with utmost dignity.
The NEC noted the report of the Officials that the President had agreed in principle to resign and had proposed time frames extending from three to six months. While appreciating President Zuma’s proposal, the NEC noted that South Africa is going through a period of uncertainty and anxiety as a result of the unresolved matter of transition. Further that this uncertainty and anxiety will erode the renewed hope and confidence among South Africans since the 54th National Conference of the ANC.
The National Executive Committee firmly believes that this situation requires us to act with urgency in order to steer our country towards greater levels of unity, renewal and hope. We are determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urgent economic recovery. Some of the matters we are contending with are the opportunistic manoeuvers by the opposition in parliament including motions of no confidence in the President, calls for dissolution for parliament and other desperate acts. The ANC’s approach to this matter has, at all times, been informed by the interests of the South African people.
Sensitive of the need to handle this matter with dignity, the NEC once again sent a delegation to brief the President Jacob Zuma about the need to shorten the timeframes so that this matter is speedily resolved. The NEC received feedback from the delegation that the President of the Republic did not accede to a shorter time frame.
The NEC therefore decided as follows:
- To recall its deployee, Comrade Jacob Zuma, in accordance with Rule 18.104.22.168 of the ANC Constitution, which accords the NEC the authority to “recall any public representative”.
- There should be continuing interaction between the officials of the ANC and the President of the Republic.
The decision by the NEC to recall its deployee was taken only after exhaustive discussion on the impact such a recall would have on the country, the ANC and the functioning of government.
The decision of the NEC provides certainty to the people of South Africa at a time when the economic and social challenges facing the country require urgent and resolute response by all sections of society.
It is critical that South Africans are united around the task of growth, job creation and economic transformation.
This decision will be communicated publicly and through appropriate forums to all structures of the ANC, Alliance Structures and all the Mass Democratic Formations.
All necessary parliamentary processes that arise from this decision will now ensue.