Zuma says media fuelled calls to resign

Wu Hong POOL New  Reuters                       President Zuma at the 2017 BRICS Summit

Cape Town - The rand raced to R11.79/$ after the ANC announced at a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon that the ruling party will vote on a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

The reported decision to "recall" Zuma comes after marathon talks held by senior party officials that continued into the early hours of Tuesday.

The party's powerful 107-member national executive committee (NEC) met for 13 hours at a hotel outside Pretoria, and decided in the early hours of Tuesday to "recall" Zuma from his post.

In his first public remarks since leaders of the African National Congress demanded he step down, Zuma defiantly refused to go and complained the party was trying to rush him out.

Zuma has been living on borrowed time since Ramaphosa, a union leader and lawyer once tipped as Mandela's pick to take over the reins, was elected as head of the 106-year-old ANC in December.

Zuma faces 783 criminal charges, including money laundering, racketeering and fraud linked to a government arms deal procurement deal in 1999.

ANC officials were not reachable Tuesday, but the party called a press conference for 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) at its headquarters in Johannesburg. Calls to ANC spokesman Pule Mabe's mobile phone didn't connect.

Zuma said he had agreed to step down in June if the ANC accepted a phased transition.

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Magashule said the party did not give Zuma a deadline to tender his resignation, but said they expected a quick turnaround.

Mr Magashule said Mr Zuma had yet to agree, but that discussions with the president thus far were "amicable".

They are known friends of Zuma - and his son, daughter and one of the President's wives worked for the family's firms.

"It's an open question whether the ANC members of parliament will vote with the multiple opposition parties to compel the president to resign".

Besides the pressure from the ANC, Zuma is facing a no-confidence motion in parliament brought by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters and set for February 22.

A confident Ramaphosa had told South Africans on Sunday that the Zuma matter would be finalised within a day.

The country's top court also ruled in 2016 that the President had violated the constitution when he used state funds to pay for multi-million dollar upgrades to his private home.

The ruling party's decision to move against Zuma was welcomed as "long overdue" by the foundation of Thabo Mbeki, a former president who was instructed by the ANC to quit in 2008 during a dispute with Zuma, who was then party leader.

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