Sunday February 11, 2018
South African Deputy President and African National Congress party President Cyril Ramaphosa, arrives at the St. Georges Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 to attend a Mass to celebrate Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations on the 28th anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison. The ANC will hold an emergency meeting on Monday as the nation awaits word on whether President Jacob Zuma will resign soon. (AP Photo)
A key committee of South Africa’s ruling ANC party will hold an
emergency meeting Monday as the nation awaits word on whether President
Jacob Zuma will resign soon because of corruption allegations, South
African media reported.
The announcement of a meeting of the national executive committee of
the African National Congress came ahead of an expected speech on Sunday
by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who says he has been negotiating a
power transition with Zuma.
Many former supporters of the president want him to resign because of
his links to scandals that have sapped support for the ruling party and
hurt one of Africa’s biggest economies, but there is a growing sense of
unease over the lack of information about the confidential talks
between Zuma and Ramaphosa, his expected successor.
While some ANC leaders are appealing to South Africans to wait
patiently for a resolution, the political opposition speculates that
Zuma is trying to secure concessions, including protection from
prosecution in exchange for his resignation.
“This mediation cannot continue,” said Refiloe Nt’sekhe, spokeswoman
for the Democratic Alliance, the biggest opposition party. “Jacob Zuma
must face the full consequences of his actions whatever they may be, and
there can be no deal or leniency for him or his family.”
Zuma denies wrongdoing, but he has been discredited by a host of
scandals, including multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home
that were paid by the state, alleged looting of state enterprises by his
associates and the possible reinstatement of corruption charges tied to
an arms deal two decades ago.
Last week, Ramaphosa canceled a meeting of the ANC’s national
executive committee, which had been expected to push for the early
removal of the president so the party can try to win back disaffected
voters ahead of elections in 2019. Such a meeting could have exacerbated
divisions with the party that has led South Africa since the end of
apartheid in 1994, and Ramaphosa said his private discussions with Zuma
were aimed at minimizing discord.
ANC spokesman Pule Mabe confirmed that a committee meeting was
scheduled for Monday, but he did not comment on the agenda, the eNCA
media organization reported.
Ramaphosa was expected to speak in Cape Town on Sunday, the 28th
anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Jailed for 27
years, the anti-apartheid leader addressed an ecstatic crowd from the
balcony of Cape Town’s City Hall on Feb. 11, 1990 and was elected as
South Africa’s first black president four years later. He died in 2013
at the age of 95.
Ramaphosa, an anti-apartheid activist who held the microphone for
Mandela during the City Hall speech, was a key negotiator during the
transition to democracy in the early 1990s.