South African President Jacob Zuma appeared a step closer to resigning after the ruling African National Congress delayed an emergency meeting to discuss whether to force him from office.
The decision by the ANC’s National Executive Committee, its top decision-making body, to postpone its meeting until later this month came after “constructive” talks between Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, party spokesman Pule Mabe said late Tuesday. Ramaphosa replaced the president as leader of the ruling African National Congress in December.
“My supposition is that the postponement of the NEC means the core issue around Zuma’s exit has been resolved and now they are ironing out the details,” Richard Calland, an analyst at risk advisory company the Paternoster Group, said by phone from Cape Town.
Earlier, parliament decided to ask Zuma to delay his state-of-the-nation address scheduled for Thursday due to fears of violence, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters outside parliament in Cape Town.
Ramaphosa has been cheered by many investors for his pledges to bolster growth, clamp down on graft and provide greater policy certainty. While the rand has been the best performer in the world against the dollar since his Dec. 18 election as ANC leader, it was 0.3 percent weaker at 11.9554 per dollar at 7:54 a.m. in Johannesburg Wednesday.
The ANC’s former head of intelligence, Zuma took power in May 2009 and clung to office through a series of scandals with the aid of his allies who controlled most key positions in the party and government.
Since Ramaphosa beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s favored successor and ex-wife, in the December vote for the party leadership, the president’s fortunes have waned. The legislature is due to debate a motion of no-confidence proposed by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party on Feb. 22.
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