The Associated Press JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s ruling party on Monday faced one of its biggest challenges since the end of white minority rule in 1994, struggling to resolve a leadership crisis amid increasing calls for scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma to resign.
Top leaders of the ruling African National Congress met Zuma at his Pretoria residence late Sunday for a discussion that one delegate had said would focus on the “best interests” of the party and the country. However, there was no public announcement Monday about the results of the meeting, days before a state of the nation address that Zuma is scheduled to deliver in Parliament.
South Africa’s political opposition has said Zuma is a discredited figure who shouldn’t deliver the speech on Thursday, and that the occasion should be postponed until the ANC party sorts out its internal conflict.
A group of ruling party officials who met Monday called a meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee for Wednesday to discuss preparations for the speech and what it described as a governmental “transition,” a reference to Zuma’s expected exit and replacement by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Many ruling party members want Ramaphosa, who replaced Zuma as party president in December and has talked tough on corruption, to become state president soon so that the party can try to recover lost popularity ahead of 2019 elections.
Critics of Zuma and supporters of the president scuffled outside party headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday.
The ANC, which was the main anti-apartheid movement for decades, has led South Africa since the end of white minority rule and drew moral standing from its association with Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president. Speech