South Africa’s ruling ANC party has formally asked President Jacob Zuma, who has been accused of corruption amid falling popularity, to promptly resign as head of state. It would allow the party’s new leader to take over.
Ace Magashule, the Secretary General of the ANC, said on Tuesday that Zuma had agreed in principle to resign but proposed time frames ranging from 3 to 6 months. As a result, the party’s executive committee (NEC) has initiated a recall, in which the ANC orders a party member to step down.
“While appreciating President Zuma’s proposal, the NEC noted that South Africa is going through a period of uncertainty and anxiety as a result of the unresolved matter of transition,” Magashule said, explaining that the situation would erode trust in the ruling party if it is allowed to persist.
Magashule said the executive committee believes the situation should be treated with “urgency,” although a deadline for Zuma’s resignation was not immediately given. Zuma, who is expected to respond on Wednesday, would likely face a vote in parliament if he refuses to step down.
Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced Zuma as leader of the ANC in December, is expected to become president once Zuma resigns as head of state. Zuma has been in power since 2009 but has faced allegations of corruption, which he has always strongly denied.
Calls for Zuma to be replaced also grew stronger in the wake of local elections in 2016, when the ANC booked its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid in 1994. It also lost control of the capital Pretoria, where the opposition Democratic Alliance won 43% of the vote.
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