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South Africa Zuma clings on despite being told to quit

SOUTH AFRICAN President Jacob Zuma faces a vote of no confidence scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, having said today that he would not resign.

In an unannounced television interview, Mr Zuma said that the call by the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) for him to step down was “very unfair,” claiming that no-one could tell him why he should go.

“I asked [the ANC leadership] as to what was the problem. Why must I be persuaded to resign, have I done anything wrong? And of course, the officials couldn’t provide what I have done,” Mr Zuma said.

For many months Mr Zuma has faced widespread criticism over perceived corruption at the top of his government, particularly what is called “state capture” — with the billionaire Gupta family reportedly having sway over his administration’s decisions.

Police raided the Guptas’ mansion, offices and other properties early this morning as part of corruption investigations. At least three people were arrested.

Mr Zuma could also face hundreds of charges of corruption relating to a 1990s government arms deal. Charges were first brought against him in 2005 but dropped by prosecutors in 2009. The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in October that the case should be reopened.

However, Mr Zuma insisted today that he didn’t understand why the issue of his resignation — to be replaced by newly elected ANC party president Cyril Ramaphosa — kept coming up.

“And I found it very, in a sense, unfair, very unfair to me that this issue must be raised all the time,” he said.

Mr Zuma said that he should be allowed to stay on — for three or six months, or until the general election next year.

He said in the interview that he would issue a formal statement responding to the ANC’s decision to recall him from his post, but none had been circulated by the time that the Morning Star went to press.

Meanwhile the ANC parliamentary group said that it would implement the party’s decision to recall Mr Zuma by voting against him in a no-confidence motion scheduled for 2pm tomorrow.

ANC MPs said that they hoped that a new president — Mr Ramaphosa — could be elected tomorrow morning, and give the postponed State of the Nation Address in the evening.

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