Following a growing call for his impeachment, President Jacob Zuma reportedly made an offer to top six member of his party, the ANC, that he would agree to step down in the following year only if they allow his Plans to fire Finance Minister Gordhan push through.
According to a report by Reuter which cited ‘senior party’ sources, Zuma offered to step down at least 12 months before his term as South African president ends, if only his opponents in the ANC would see Finance Minister Pravin “leave office now.”
Zuma, who’s tenure in office is set to end in 2019, has received countless calls to step aside following his alleged corrupt practices and involvement in the controversial state capture matter involving his strong allies, the Guptas.
As most of his party members join millions of other South Africans to withdraw their confidence in Zuma, many more have gone ahead to support other ANC members best fit for his position. Two of these candidates are his ex-wife Dlamini Zuma and the current deputy President, Cryril Ramaphosa.
Zuma is also due to be replaced as party leader at an African National Congress (ANC) party conference in December after serving his allocated two terms, but was expected to remain the country’s president until elections in 2019.
The deal between Zuma and his party’s inner caucus is reportedly a proposal to get out of an impasse Zuma has found himself in regarding an imminent cabinet reshuffle, in which he wants to oust Gordhan and replace him with Brian Molefe.
The move is also said to have created a division in the ANC top Six as half of the members and the party’s alliance partners, like the SACP, widely criticized it, insisting he must not go ahead with plans to have Gordhan fired.
“Zuma’s early departure after December conference is on the table. It’s being discussed,” one of the sources said. “He could be forcibly removed so it makes sense for him to go on his own terms.”
This would be the second time the ruling ANC would be recalling its leader a year before the end of their tenure. Former president Thabo Mbeki was recalled a year before his term as president ended, after Zuma was elected as the new leader of the ANC in 2009.
As it is, Zuma seems to have a special interest in having Gordhan removed, but his moves seems a bit difficult as South Africans dread its negative effect on the nation’s currency and economy. Especially as the country’s finances need to be under control to secure Zuma’s network of patronage and tenderpreneurship.
Sources quoted by Reuters said Gordhan’s supporters are hesitant to trust any promises made by Zuma, and have fears that whoever replaces the finance minister will facilitate government corruption.
Research analysts hold the baseline view that firing Gordhan will lead to an immediate rating cut to junk by global ratings agencies.
Meanwhile, EFF leader, Julius Malema said he would be heading to the Constitutional Court today in a bid to have impeachment proceedings instituted against President Jacob Zuma.
The EFF says it has been left with no choice but to approach the Concourt due to the inaction taken against Zuma over the Nkandla scandal.
“Tomorrow is exactly one year since the Concourt handed down its historic judgment in the EFF’s Nkandla application. Since then, we have made numerous appeals and wrote several letters to the Speaker of Parliament. All have fallen on deaf ears and have been met with violence by Parliament on EFF MPs,”
“We approach the Constitutional Court as a last resort based on the belief that Zuma’s conduct around the Nkandla matter, both inside and outside of Parliament, renders him unfit to hold the high office of President of the Republic of South Africa,” the EFF said in the statement.