South African President Zuma given 48 hours to resign

South African President Zuma given 48 hours to resign

South African President Jacob Zuma has been given 48 hours to resign, the state broadcaster says.


Key points:

  • President Jacob Zuma, 75, has been ordered to step down within 48 hours
  • Party leader Cyril Ramaphosa, 65, likely to take the top job
  • Mr Zuma has previously refused to resign despite pressure from all sides

The country's ruling African National Congress (ANC) ordered Mr Zuma to step down after an eight-hour meeting of the party's top leadership.

Party leader Cyril Ramaphosa's motorcade left the marathon ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at 10:30pm for Mr Zuma's residence near the Union Buildings in Pretoria to deliver the message in person.

His motorcade returned an hour later to the venue of the ANC meeting debating the President's fate.

The South African rand, which has tended to strengthen on signs Mr Zuma could step down before his second term ends mid next year, extended its gains to 0.7 per cent to the dollar on expectations Mr Zuma was on his way out.

ANC officials and Mr Zuma's spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Since Mr Ramaphosa was voted in as party leader in December, Mr Zuma has faced mounting calls from his party to end his scandal-plagued second term a year early.

The NEC meeting in a Pretoria hotel had all the ingredients for a showdown between Zuma stalwarts and those backing a swift transfer of power to deputy state president Mr Ramaphosa.

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, said on Sunday the meeting was expected to "finalise" the situation.

The party executive has the authority to order Mr Zuma to step down as head of state, although there is some domestic media speculation that he might yet refuse.

Since becoming President in 2009, Mr Zuma has been dogged by scandal, although he denies wrongdoing.

South Africa's top court ruled that he violated the constitution following an investigation into multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home that were paid for by the state.

A judicial commission is about to start a probe of alleged looting of state enterprises by Mr Zuma's associates, and prosecutors are expected to announce soon whether they will reinstate corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago.

Mr Ramaphosa has put the focus on rooting out corruption and revitalising economic growth.

Reuters