Three ministers urge South Africa’s scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma to step down

November 28, 2016 7:00 pm

South African President (Photo by AFP)

At least three South African ministers have urged scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma to quit in the most serious challenge he is facing since taking office seven years ago.
Sources in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi called on Zuma to resign on Monday.
The call was made at a weekend meeting of the ANC party, which was extended into Monday amid a heated argument over the president’s fate.
Zuma’s leadership was sharply criticized this month after ’s top watchdog issued a report, detailing the president’s relationship with the Guptas, an Indian business family accused of wielding undue political influence. The report raised fresh allegations of misconduct in Zuma’s administration.
However, Zuma survived a no-confidence motion tabled by the Democratic Alliance (DA), which argued that the president had wreaked havoc on South ’s “infant democracy” by being involved in various corruption and influence-peddling scandals.
Zuma had managed to weather two previous no-confidence votes. The 74-year-old, who has been in office since 2009, enjoys strong loyalty among ANC lawmakers and many party activists, particularly in rural areas.
Zuma is already gripped in a series of corruption scandals. He was found guilty by South Africa’s highest court in March, after he refused to repay taxpayers’ money used to refurbish his private rural house.
A court has also ruled that Zuma should face almost 800 corruption charges over a multi-billion dollar arms deal in the 1990s. Zuma has appealed the ruling.
“There is no doubt that Zuma is fighting for his political life,” analyst Ranjeni Munusamy said on the Daily Maverick website.
“He is hanging on while it is clear that large sections of the ANC and alliance no longer want him as president,” Munusamy added.
Many anti-apartheid veterans, ANC activists, trade unions, civil groups and business leaders have urged Zuma to quit in recent months.
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