MKMVA to back ANC NEC on Zuma decision

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa

The party's National Executive Committee said Saturday that the ANC must rebuild trust with South Africans and reclaim a "moral legitimacy" that dates to its role as the main anti-apartheid movement but has been sullied by corruption allegations surrounding Zuma and his associates.

If he refused, he would be forced to step down by the party's six-strong leadership group, the channel said, without naming its sources.

Zuma's exit would catapult Ramaphosa, 65, into the presidency and allow him to begin to fix an economy that suffered its second recession in nearly a decade in 2017 and has struggled to mount a strong recovery.

At a meeting of the NEC on Friday, Ramaphosa cemented his control of the party, with his allies winning most of the seats on the 26-member National Working Committee that oversees the running of the ANC on a day-to-day basis.

The NEC made no mention of Zuma's possible early exit in a statement it issued after the first two days of what is a four-day meeting.

Zuma has been under growing pressure to resign since he was replaced as head of the African National Congress in December by his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.

Reports that Zuma planned to make mass changes to leadership structures at state-owned enterprises (SOEs) also reportedly energised ANC leaders, resulting in a decision to move quickly on the president's removal. While he has been in office, the economy has also slowed to a near-standstill.

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The statement also addressed criticism that South Africa now has two centers of power - Zuma still in office as president, while Ramaphosa heads the ruling ANC party.

Headlines on Friday morning such as Eyewitness News' "Zuma recall won't be on NEC meeting agenda this weekend" caused the rand to slip back to R12.10/$ by 6.55am. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.

Eskom's struggle to repay loans on its massive debts is seen as one of the biggest threats to South Africa's economy.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday the Treasury could not afford to bail the firm out but would take action soon to tackle its difficulties.

"The officials, led by president [Cyril] Ramaphosa, will continue their engagement with President Jacob Zuma to ensure effective co-ordination between the ANC and government", he said.

The NEC member added that the decision reached was unanimous, even with those seen as Zuma loyalists eventually agreeing that the president needed to step down to help better the ANC's chances ahead of the 2019 general elections.

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