Top South African ruling party officials pulled out of events being staged to commemorate the centenary of the birth of national icon Nelson Mandela on Friday morning, as negotiations intensified over President Jacob Zuma’s exit from office.
The African National Congress’s top six officials had been called into an urgent meeting with Zuma, Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA reported. ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said he didn’t have details on the meeting.
Zuma has shrugged off a succession of scandals during his nine-year tenure as president, but pressure has been mounting on him to quit since Cyril Ramaphosa won control of the ruling party in December. Talks about a transition of power are due to be concluded within a matter of days, Ramaphosa said in a statement on Wednesday.
Investors are banking on Ramaphosa fulfilling his pledges to revive the flagging economy and clamp down in the corruption that has become synonymous with the Zuma era.
The rand gained as much as 0.9 percent on speculation that Zuma is set to quit, and traded 0.8 percent stronger at 12.0721 per dollar by 9:49 a.m. in Johannesburg on Friday, the best performance out of 31 major and developing-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg.