PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) gave President Jacob Zuma 48 hours to resign as head of state on Monday after an eight-hour meeting of the party’s top leadership, the SABC state broadcaster said.
Party leader Cyril Ramaphosa’s motorcade left a marathon ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at 1030 pm (2030 GMT) for Zuma’s residence near the Union Buildings in Pretoria to deliver the message in person, the SABC said, citing sources.
His motorcade returned an hour later to the venue of the ANC meeting debating Zuma’s fate.
The rand ZAR=D3, which has tended to strengthen on signs Zuma could step down before his second term ends mid next year, extended its gains to 0.7 percent to the dollar on expectations Zuma was on his way out.
ANC officials and Zuma’s spokesman could not be reached to comment.
Since Ramaphosa was voted in as party leader in December, Zuma has faced mounting calls from his party to end his scandal-plagued second term a year early.
The NEC meeting in a Pretoria hotel had all the ingredients for a showdown between Zuma stalwarts and those backing a swift transfer of power to deputy state president Ramaphosa.
The 65-year-old said on Sunday the meeting was expected to “finalize” the situation.
The party executive has the authority to order Zuma to step down as head of state, although there is some domestic media speculation that he might yet refuse.
Since becoming president in 2009, Zuma has been dogged by scandal. Ramaphosa has put the focus on rooting out corruption and revitalizing economic growth.
Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Ed Cropley