South Africa’s Zuma or­dered to re­sign

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - International -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — South Africa’s rul­ing party on Tues­day dis­owned Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma af­ter stick­ing with him through years of scan­dals, or­der­ing him to re­sign in an at­tempt to re­solve a lead­er­ship cri­sis that has dis­rupted gov­ern­ment busi­ness in one of Africa’s big­gest economies.

The an­nounce­ment by the African Na­tional Congress did not im­me­di­ately end the tur­moil in a party that was the main move­ment against white mi­nor­ity rule and has led South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994. If the po­lit­i­cally iso­lated pres­i­dent de­fies the party’s or­der, the mat­ter could go to par­lia­ment for a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence, which would fur­ther em­bar­rass the party once led by Nel­son Man­dela.

Ace Ma­gashule, the ANC’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, said he ex­pected Mr. Zuma to re­ply to the direc­tive on Wed­nes­day. An­other se­nior party of­fi­cial sug­gested that Mr. Zuma would be un­wise to flout the edict of the party, which is ea­ger to re­cover from in­ter­nal dis­ar­ray ahead of 2019 elec­tions.

“A dis­ci­plined cadre of the ANC, you are given a chance to re­sign on your own, but if you lack dis­ci­pline you will re­sist,” party chair­man Gwede Man­tashe said at a provin­cial rally, ac­cord­ing to South African me­dia.

“Once you re­sist, we are go­ing to let you be thrown out through the vote of no con­fi­dence be­cause you dis­re­spect the or­ga­ni­za­tion and you dis­obey it, there­fore we are go­ing to let you be de­voured by the vul­tures,” Mr. Man­tashe said.

Busi­ness lead­ers wel­comed the ANC’s de­ci­sion to re­call Mr. Zuma, say­ing the coun­try needs to fo­cus on eco­nomic growth and ad­dress so­cial prob­lems such as un­em­ploy­ment.

ANC lead­ers must act “swiftly, but con­sti­tu­tion­ally” to re­move Mr. Zuma so the “work of re­cov­er­ing our fu­ture, which was im­per­iled by his ru­inous regime — char­ac­ter­ized by in­com­pe­tence, cor­rup­tion, state cap­ture and low eco­nomic growth — can be­gin in earnest,” said Bo­nang Mo­hale, CEO of Busi­ness Lead­er­ship South Africa, a group that pro­motes de­vel­op­ment.

“State cap­ture” is a term used in South Africa to de­scribe the al­leged loot­ing of state en­ter­prises by as­so­ciates of Mr. Zuma, who de­nies any wrong­do­ing.

A ju­di­cial com­mis­sion is about to start a probe of those al­le­ga­tions. Separately, Mr. Zuma could face cor­rup­tion charges tied to an arms deal two decade­sago.

The main op­po­si­tion party, the Demo­cratic Al­liance, said Tues­day that it had been in­formed by the chief pros­e­cu­tor that his team will pro­vide its rec­om­men­da­tion on Feb. 23 about whether to pros­e­cute Mr. Zuma on the old charges. The charges had been thrown out but the op­po­si­tion fought suc­cess­fully to get them re­in­stated.

Mr. Zuma had agreed to re­sign and wanted to stay in of­fice for sev­eral more months, but the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee de­cided at a 13-hour meet­ing that he had to leave at once, Mr. Ma­gashule said.

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