S Africa political deadlock as Zuma clings to power | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 11, 2018

S Africa political deadlock as Zuma clings to power

South Africa's political impasse deepened yesterday with no resolution to extended talks over President Jacob Zuma's expected departure from office after his own party called for him to resign.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the president-in-waiting, and the ruling ANC party have said negotiations should be concluded within days, but have given no details about how Zuma will be eased out of power.

The stalemate has left South Africa's political scene in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled this week including the flagship State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

Zuma cleared his diary of weekend engagements, but deputy president Ramaphosa is due to speak at a rally in the city today to start a year of celebrations marking 100 years since Nelson Mandela's birth.

February 11 also marks the day that Mandela was released from jail in 1990 -- a key date in modern South Africa's re-birth as apartheid white-minority rule crumbled.

Zuma and Ramaphosa will "conclude" discussions on Zuma's exit within 48 hours and the outcome will then be announced to the nation, the News24 website said Saturday without naming its sources.

But Susan Booysen, a politics professor from Wits University in Johannesburg, said Zuma may fight on for several more days.

Local media reported that a key sticking point in talks was over legal fees faced by Zuma, who is set for prolonged court battles related to multiple criminal cases.

Zuma, 75, who has been in office since 2009, has clung to power despite a string of corruption scandals, an economic slowdown and record unemployment.

His hold on the ANC was shaken when his chosen successor -- his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma -- narrowly lost out to Ramaphosa in a closely-fought race to be party leader in December.

Zuma faces several court cases, including action relating to 783 payments he allegedly received linked to an arms deal before he came to power.

Under Zuma, the ANC suffered its worst electoral setback since coming to power in 1994, winning less than 54 percent of the vote in municipal elections in 2016.

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