Will Zuma be ousted as SA president?

Sunday December 24 2017

 Zuma, SA president, ANC, Ramaphosa

Zuma, SA president, ANC, Ramaphosa 

By Agencies

Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s scandal-hit president, may not see out his second term now that the governing African National Congress (ANC) party has elected Cyril Ramaphosa its leader.
For the last few years, Ramaphosa has been Zuma’s deputy, but their relationship has been an uneasy one.

Ramaphosa ran on an anti-corruption ticket, and many believe this means he is much more likely to make sure allegations of corruption against Zuma are pursued.

Here are a few ways things may play out ahead of general elections in 2019:

Zuma is fired
The ANC will want to avoid two competing centres of power - with rival leaders holding the posts of president of the party and president of the country.

So it may choose to sack Zuma as president of the country, seeing him as a political liability in the run-up to the election.

This would open the way for Ramaphosa to take power and try to regain the confidence of voters amid fears that the ANC’s 62 per cent majority is under serious threat.

But it would be a risky move as it could split the party.

Some powerful allies of Zuma, including the new ANC deputy president and secretary-general, may resist moves to sack him.

The decision to sack Zuma would be made by the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), which is its highest decision-making body.

It is impossible to predict when a “recall” might happen, but some analysts think the ANC might want to have Zuma out of office by the time of the annual State of the Nation address in February next year.

However, political analyst Somadoda Fikeni thinks it may happen much later, when Zuma’s leadership becomes untenable.

President Zuma’s legal woes are likely to come to a head later in 2018, he says.

Zuma steps down
Another possibility Fikeni points to is that the ANC leadership might convince Zuma to resign.
ANC leaders “do understand the political cost of Zuma, who will be in and out of courts” over the next year, he says.

“That in itself will be a death knell in 2019 [ahead of elections],” he adds. Instead the leadership is “likely to talk to [Zuma] nicely, and appeal to him to step down”, says Fikeni.
“If he resists, a ‘recall’ might become inevitable.”

Zuma remains in office
Then there are those who argue that it would be unwise for Ramaphosa to sack Zuma because it could fracture the party even further, and detract from what the real focus should be: Preparing for 2019 election.

Instead, they say that Ramaphosa would be better advised to allow Zuma to become tied up in his legal woes, effectively neutralising him.

The South African judiciary is robust and independent, and has put high-profile political figures in prison before.

Some analysts believe Zuma will be far too busy dealing with his own legal problems to cause any real threat to Ramaphosa.

Further, proponents of this scenario say it would leave Ramaphosa free to focus on the real issues that will impact on the upcoming general election.

Pressure
Sack. Barely 24 hours after his election as African National Congress (ANC) president, pressure was already mounting on Cyril Ramaphosa to recall president Jacob Zuma from his position as the country’s leader.
On Monday, the ANC elected Ramaphosa to take over the reins from president Zuma, who completed his two terms as party leader.
President Zuma was still to unwind his term South Africa’s president, but opposition parties have given the new ANC boss a February 2018 ultimatum to recall him.

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