Early stop for NEC meet­ing

Rand stronger amid re­ports Pres­i­dent Zuma will be voted out

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Maarten Mit­tner

AS the ANC Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Meet­ing (NEC) ad­journed af­ter only 20 min­utes yes­ter­day, the rand strength­ened against the dol­lar in late-af­ter­noon trade amid me­dia re­ports that the NEC might have a ma­jor­ity to vote Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma out this week­end.

The Mail & Guardian re­ported that anti-Zuma sup­port­ers would push hard to con­vince him to step down.

“There is no doubt that his grip on power [has] weak­ened over the past few months‚” the Mail & Guardian said.

How­ever‚ an­a­lysts re­main scep­ti­cal. Rand Mer­chant Bank (RMB) an­a­lyst John Cairns said there re­mained an out­side hope that the NEC would vote to re­call the pres­i­dent.

“Never say never but we are scep­ti­cal that any­thing will hap­pen‚” Cairns said.

There was noth­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary about the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing be­ing ad­journed 20 min­utes af­ter it started, ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said late yes­ter­day.

“We dealt with one or two items and ad­journed. The meet­ing con­tin­ues to­mor­row.”

Tra­di­tion­ally‚ NEC meet­ings start with the po­lit­i­cal over­view from the pres­i­dent or a re­port on the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee by the ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral – both of which usu­ally take more or less an hour to de­liver.

But Kodwa said the meet­ing was just “nor­mal pro­ce­dure” and noth­ing out of the or­di­nary.

The NEC meet­ing has been the sub­ject of in­tense spec­u­la­tion this week‚ with many re­ports sur­fac­ing of lob­by­ing by some to have Zuma’s re­moval added to the agenda for dis­cus­sion.

TimesLive re­ported ear­lier that Zuma’s sup­port­ers would try to quash at­tempts to dis­cuss his fate at the meet­ing.

Although those op­pos­ing his lead­er­ship have be­come more em­bold­ened‚ given the scan­dals en­gulf­ing his pres­i­dency‚ his sup­port­ers have again re­grouped to stop dis­cus­sion of his re­moval from of­fice.

ANC Mpumalanga sec­re­tary Mandla Ndlovu‚ whose prov­ince has backed Zuma‚ said the is­sue of him re­main­ing pres­i­dent had long been re­solved — but his prov­ince was ready for any even­tu­al­ity.

“There was an ex­tended [meet­ing of the ANC’s] na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee that dealt with that mat­ter. I re­ported back to the branches about this mat­ter and the branches ac­cepted [the de­ci­sion of the com­mit­tee].

“We will deal with any­thing that comes up but branches here [in Mpumalanga] won’t tol­er­ate any shenani­gans‚” Ndlovu said.

Mean­while Zuma said yes­ter­day he was not against set­ting up an in­quiry into claims of cor­rup­tion in his gov­ern­ment.

Pres­sure against him within the ANC, op­po­si­tion par­ties and civil so­ci­ety has swelled since he axed fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han in March, trig­ger­ing credit rat­ing down­grades that have hit chances of eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

Zuma said he was “not op­posed to es­tab­lish­ing a com­mis­sion of in­quiry“, with­out speci- fy­ing a time­frame.

The NEC meet­ing is due to con­tinue to­day and to­mor­row.

Bloomberg on Tuesday quoted two anony­mous sources as say­ing it would dis­cuss Zuma’s re­moval from the party pres­i­dency, but an­a­lysts have poured cold wa­ter on chances of him be­ing ousted or quit­ting be­fore his term as party head ends in De­cem­ber.

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, con­sid­ered a likely can­di­date for ANC pres­i­dent in De­cem­ber, has not for­mally an­nounced his in­ten­tion to stand.

A sep­a­rate fac­tion within the ANC, in­clud­ing Zuma, backs his ex-wife, for­mer African Union chair­woman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to re­place him as party head. – Reuters

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