South Africa's President Jacob Zuma under mounting pressure to quit

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma under mounting pressure to quit

South African President Jacob Zuma should step down, a senior ruling African National Congress official said, raising fresh pressure on Zuma who has been weakened since Cyril Ramaphosa became ANC leader in December. Ramaphosa, 65, has been lobbying the ANC's national executive to force Zuma to resign.

Should Zuma step down before the speech, it is understood that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete will serve as acting president to convene parliament, and then will designate Ramaphosa, who also is the nation's deputy president, to deliver the address.

Zuma is not due to leave office until the 2019 elections.

Investors associate Zuma's tenure with a period of economic decline, with growth slowing to an average of 1.5 percent a year and unemployment up to 28 percent from around 23 percent when he took office in 2009.

"They are saying as the ANC top six it would be ideal to deal with it before he faces a vote of no confidence". However, Zuma still has support within the top 6 with Secretary General Ace Magashule and his deputy Jessie Duarte defending his continued stay at Union Buildings.

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Zuma (75) is battling several corruption allegations. Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Zuma has been deserted by several prominent allies in the ANC since Mr Ramaphosa became leader of what is the only party to govern South Africa since the end of apartheid. The Democratic Alliance was unsuccessful in its bid to have the Sona postponed.

They are expected to begin the process to remove President Zuma through a formal recall or by introducing a motion in parliament.

Lukhona Mnguni, political analyst at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said Zuma could take his chances and wait for the no-confidence motion rather than decide to resign.

"That is why tonight we are meeting with President Zuma", said Mantashe to some applause in the St John Apostolic Faith Mission church on Sunday afternoon.

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