Zuma's ouster not on NEC's agenda ... yet

Ramaphosa's January 8 speech is the only item on Wednesday's discussion list, but discreet talks on president's exit may happen next week

10 January 2018 - 15:14
ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashuke address the media on the sidelines of the special NEC meeting held in East London ahead of the ANC 106 birthday celebrations.
ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashuke address the media on the sidelines of the special NEC meeting held in East London ahead of the ANC 106 birthday celebrations.
Image: Masi Losi

The removal of President Jacob Zuma as head of state would not be discussed at an African National Congress meeting on Wednesday, the party’s secretary-general said.

There was widespread media speculation this week that Zuma’s opponents in the ANC’s newly elected 80-member national executive committee would raise a motion of no-confidence at its first meeting under new leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told reporters at a break in the meeting that the only item on the agenda was Ramaphosa's January 8 Speech to mark the 106th birthday of the ANC on Saturday.

The rand briefly extended losses against the US dollar. Zuma has been unpopular with investors.

“That matter was not for any discussion or debate,” Magashule told reporters in response to a question about whether Zuma’s future was raised. “There was only one item on the agenda.”

The NEC is meeting in East London.

Two senior committee members said Ramaphosa’s faction in the ANC did not want to try to openly oust Zuma since the NEC was only elected a month ago and because Ramaphosa’s victory was marginal.

There could be a less high-profile meeting of the NEC next week where a more serious discussion about Zuma leaving would be held, one of the senior party members said.

“Ramaphosa has to chart a very careful course so he can win broad ANC support and negotiate a dignified exit for Zuma,” independent political analyst Daniel Silke said. - Reuters 

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