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South Africa's ANC Meets To Decide Fate Of President Jacob Zuma

South Afrcian President Jacob Zuma seen on the second day of the G20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, last year.
Sean Gallup
Getty Images
South Afrcian President Jacob Zuma seen on the second day of the G20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, last year.

South Africa's ruling African National Congress party is holding meetings to decide the fate of President Jacob Zuma, who is under growing pressure to step down amid corruption allegations.

The party tried and failed to secure an agreement from the 75-year-old Zuma, who has ruled South Africa since 2009, to step down voluntarily. Zuma is apparently not budging and many in the party fear that his fading support could hurt their chances to retain the presidency if he stays on until elections in 2019.

Opposition leader Julius Sello Malema tweeted earlier that Zuma refused to step down, writing that the ANC had "to take a decision to remove him... He's arguing that he complied with all legal instructions paying back the money, what more do they want from him."

On Monday, the ANC's National Working Committee, meeting in Johannesburg, was holding talks that could force Zuma to leave. He was already replaced as ANC party chief in December by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is seen as Zuma's political heir apparent.

As we have reported earlier, Ramaphosa left politics in 1990 and amassed a fortune in the private sector before reentering politics. He enjoys the backing of some of the country's wealthy investors.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton reported in December on All Things Considered, Zuma "stands accused of patronage and allowing state capture, as it's called here - letting powerful outside interests buy influence in government and even appoint and fire ministers," charges he denies.

The BBC adds:

"Charges were first brought against Mr Zuma in 2005 but dropped by prosecutors in 2009.

Last year, the High Court ruled in a case brought by the opposition Democratic Alliance that he should face the charges.

Mr Zuma lodged a challenge with the Supreme Court of Appeal but it ruled he should face the charges."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.