Zuma's speech postponed amid South Africa power struggle

Zuma's speech postponed amid South Africa power struggle

Zuma's speech postponed amid South Africa power struggle

Separately, the speaker of parliament said the president's state of the nation address, which had been scheduled for Thursday, would be postponed, adding to pressure on Zuma.

On Tuesday, the parliament chose to suspend Zuma's state of the nation address amid growing calls for the country's president to leave office.

His premature departure - Zuma's second five-year term is due to expire next year - will consolidate the power of Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected leader of the ANC in December.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured South Africans that the anxiety around President Jacob Zuma's position will be resolved while Mbete says she's hoping for certainty, in general, in the next few hours.

On Wednesday, the party's national executive committee is expected to endorse the national working committee [NWC]'s decision to recall Zuma as the country's president.

There have been reports that Zuma - who faces hundreds of allegations of corruption from his two terms in office and possible jail time - is digging in his heels and refusing to step down.

South African President Jacob Zuma's nine-year tenure has been marred by a series of scandals.

Chief whips have been told that the budget will go ahead as scheduled, while a new date for the State of The Nation Address (Sona) has yet to be decided.

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The ANC's mishandling of the transition to a new leadership has damaged both the country and the party, according to Gary van Staden, an analyst at NKC African Economics in Paarl, outside Cape Town.

The governing party's efforts to remove beleaguered Zuma failed last night during a meeting at the presidential residence in Pretoria.

Local media reported that the 75-year-old president, who is battling corruption allegations, refused.

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said he was not prepared to be addressed by a criminal, in reference to Zuma.

Mr Zuma had led the ANC since 2007 and has been South Africa's president since 2009.

Mr Ramaphosa vowed the process would be handled "very carefully" and said he was looking to revive the economy and tackle record unemployment before the 2019 elections. "It remains in doubt whether he will deliver the state-of-the-nation address". However, many former supporters have abandoned him and commentators believe enough ruling party members might join the opposition to oust him in a parliamentary motion of no confidence scheduled on February 22. "Ramaphosa will look weak if he can't get Zuma out now". The Democratic Alliance, a prominent opposition party, called for the address to be postponed.

By that evening the ruling party announced it had convened a special NEC meeting to deal with the "transition" quagmire between the 5th and 6th administrations.

Scandals swirling around Zuma include multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home with state money and his association with the Guptas, a business family accused of looting state enterprises and influencing Cabinet ministers for their own benefit.

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