Nelson Mandela’s party, the African National Congress (ANC) the movement that led the struggle against apartheid and has been in power in South Africa since 1994, is trying to convince the controversial Jacob Zuma to leave the presidency of the African country. After a meeting in Pretoria held the day before yesterday, the party’s secretary general, Ace Magashule visited Zuma to present him with a formal request to resign and end to the paralysis which has been affecting the country for months.
ANC internal rules clearly state that all members must adhere to the will of the party and it is assumed that Zuma will obey. In theory this is the end for him but there is no constitutional obligation for him to do so. The alternative is to face a vote of no confidence in Parliament before the end of the month, proposed by the opposition for February 22. Zuma has few options.
The call for his resignation is caused by the wake of serious corruption scandals, which affected the municipal elections of 2016 with poor results that suggest a setback for the ANC in the 2019 elections. The party wants to prevent this and considers there is enough time to clean up the ANC image before the campaign gets under way. Zuma is involved in a dozen corruption charges related to arms contracts and investigators believe he has used the apparatus of the state to favour contacts with public concessions amounting to millions of Rand, especially to the Gupta family, which has led to growing unpopularity inside and outside the ANC. The paradox is that Zuma took over from Thabo Mbeki who was accused of squandering Mandela’s legacy.
There are hopes that the vice president Cyril Ramaphosa, tipped to take over, can steer the party and the country into calmer waters.