Early stop for NEC meeting
Rand stronger amid reports President Zuma will be voted out
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