Zuma’s corruption scandals and method of governance have done a huge damage to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party’s Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday
Mantashe said the allegations were damaging the reputation of the ANC and called for a judicial inquiry to investigate the influence of business interests in government.
Zuma and the Gupta family, wealthy Indian-born businessmen whose companies have contracts with state-owned firms, have been implicated in a series of corruption allegations in the last few years.
“The information is coming up. It’s quite damaging to the ANC as a consequence. It damages the ANC as a consequence because we are the governing party, many of the people who are cited there as beneficiaries of the Gupta, Gupta beneficiaries, are leaders of the ANC. So we are paying the price for that,” said Mantashe.
The ANC secretary general further warned that Zuma risks being removed as head of state after a December conference when a new leader of the ruling African National Congress will be chosen.
The ANC lost control of major cities last year in its worst local election results since coming to power, partly due to a drop in public support for Zuma.
Asked if it would be easier for Zuma’s ANC opponents to remove him after the party conference, Mantashe told Reuters: “Yes, that’s exactly the point I’m making. After December … he will not be the president of the ANC, who by resolution should be president of the republic. It’s less complex.”
Mantashe gave as an example former president Thabo Mbeki who was recalled as head of state by the ANC in 2008, less than a year after he was ousted as party leader.
Zuma is unpopular with most investors and the possibility of him leaving office before 2019 would be welcomed by markets.