President Jacob Zuma of South Africa Faces Leadership Challenge
Officials of the A.N.C.’s national executive committee, including three members of Mr. Zuma’s cabinet, introduced a motion over the weekend that urged Mr. Zuma to step down, according to South Africa’s news media. They said that Mr. Zuma’s tainted leadership would harm the party in future voting, especially in national elections scheduled for 2019.
Committee members met Monday evening, but there were no announcements of any action taken. Analysts had said it was unlikely that the president’s critics would succeed in pushing for a vote of no confidence. Mr. Zuma is believed to still have strong support within the 104-member committee, which includes many loyalists appointed by him over his seven years in office.
according to rapporteur report from Nytimes, link ,Still, even what might amount to a minor rebellion in the A.N.C.’s top leadership appeared to have caught the party by surprise over the weekend. It also deepened divisions with the cabinet and the party as Mr. Zuma’s government grapples with a poor economy, an unemployment rate of 27 percent and a possible downgrade of South Africa’s national debt by credit agencies worried about poor governance.
“This is leaving Zuma more weakened and more exposed because now you have it on record that the members of the A.N.C.’s N.E.C. were discussing a topic that was the elephant in the room,” Ralph Mathekga, a political analyst, said, referring to the executive committee.
Some active party leaders have distanced themselves from Mr. Zuma since the A.N.C. lost major cities, including Johannesburg and Pretoria, in local elections in August. The electoral results were the worst for the party since it took power after the end of apartheid in 1994.
Mr. Zuma has been embroiled in one scandal after another since taking office in 2009. Last month, the public protector’s office, a group charged with investigating official corruption and misconduct, recommended that Mr. Zuma’s administration be officially investigated for corruption.
If Mr. Zuma serves out his second and final term, set to end in 2019, the next three years will most likely be filled with legal battles over Mr. Zuma’s possible misconduct, leaving the A.N.C. in a poor position heading into national elections.
The party is expected to choose its next leader toward the end of next year. One of the top two contenders, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former government minister and the chairwoman of the African Union Commission, is strongly supported by the A.N.C.’s rural branches, as well as its women’s and youth leagues, which are also among Mr. Zuma’s fiercest backers. Ms. Dlamini-Zuma was married for 16 years to Mr. Zuma, with whom she has four children.
Her rival, Cyril Ramaphosa, the current deputy president and a prominent businessman, is backed by the party’s urban branches and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the nation’s biggest trade union federation.