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Zuma’s future as SA president hangs in the balance

The NEC will have its first meeting in East London in early January, ahead of the party’s January 8 celebrations eight days later.

Former ANC president Jacob Zuma on 18 December 2017. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma’s future as head of state now hangs in the balance, following the changing of the guard in the African National Congress (ANC).

Any decision to get him to leave office before his term officially ends is up to the NEC, the highest decision-making body between conferences.

The NEC will have its first meeting in East London on 5 January, ahead of the party’s 13 January celebrations.

While the new NEC is more or less evenly split between supporters of new ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and those who wanted Nkosana Dlamini Zuma to win, there is no doubt that both sides see Zuma as a liability to the party’s electoral chances in 2019.

When Ramaphosa was declared party president on Monday night, a significant part of Zuma’s power drained away.

And while Ramaphosa cannot claim a significant majority of his supporters on the new NEC, the balance of power is likely to soon tip in his favour, simply because Zuma no longer has much he can offer those who have protected and supported him for so long.

This means Zuma is likely to come under ever-increasing pressure to do the right thing and step down as head of state early, so the issue is more about the timing and the terms of his departure from the Union Buildings, rather than whether or not he will go.

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