UPDATE: New South African President To Be Elected Today- ANC Chief Whip

The chief whip of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, Jackson Mthembu has disclosed that the parliament will elect Cyril Ramaphosa as the new president at 2pm local time today.

“The office of the chief justice has made itself available today to officiate in the business of electing a new president,” Mthembu told a parliamentary committee meeting.

At the same meeting, the speaker of parliament said a letter of resignation from President Jacob Zuma, who stepped down late on Wednesday rather than face a no-confidence vote from his own party, was “still on its way”.

South Africans awoke to a nation without Zuma as president for the first time in nine years on Thursday, released from the burden of a compromised leader who darkened the dreams and aspirations of the post-apartheid.

Experts said the road back to prosperity and self-respect will be long and hard in a nation so divided by race and inequality but Zuma’s ultimate demise proved the enduring strength of its institutions, from the courts to the media and the constitution.

Zuma reluctantly resigned as head of state late on Wednesday on orders from the ruling ANC, bringing an end to his nine scandal-plagued years in power.

The 75-year-old Zuma said in a 30-minute farewell address to the nation he disagreed with the way the ANC had shoved him towards an early exit after the election of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as party president in December, but would accept its orders.

“Defiant in defeat” and “Going, Going, Gone” were some of the newspaper headlines that captured Zuma’s reluctance to leave.

“South Africa’s long nightmare is over,” read the headline of an analysis on online news site Daily Maverick

The ANC hailed Zuma’s decision to resign. Ramaphosa, the interim head of state after Zuma’s resignation, is widely expected to be appointed by parliament as permanent president until elections in 2019.

The rand currency, which has gained ground whenever Zuma hit political turbulence, soared to a near three-year high against the dollar on Zuma’s resignation.

“One chapter in South Africa’s political soap-opera has finally ended with the resignation on Wednesday night of President Jacob Zuma,” NKC African Economics analysts wrote in a note.

“It would be gratifying to see the dedication and purpose the ANC put into ridding itself of Zuma now be directed into rebuilding the economy, dealing with the corruption still residing in the ANC and improving its shoddy governance record.”

Zuma’s resignation came just hours after police raided the luxury home of the Gupta family, Indian-born billionaire allies of the former president who have been at the center of corruption allegations against Zuma and his circle for years.

Zuma and the Guptas have always denied wrongdoing.

Police said on Wednesday three people were arrested during the raids on various properties in Johannesburg.

State broadcaster SABC said a Gupta family member was among those detained, while a senior judicial source said police were expected to arrest up to seven more people and that Gupta family members would be among them.

Police said the raid was in connection with a state-funded dairy farm, which prosecutors last month called a “scheme designed to defraud and steal”.

The suspects were expected to appear in court.

 

South Africa’s ANC Prepares To Fire Jacob Zuma

According to unconfirmed reports, the South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has set plans in motion to fire Jacob Zuma as head of state.

Recall that the ANC had scheduled a meeting on Wednesday evening of its National Executive Committee (NEC), which has the authority to fire Zuma, but canceled it late on Tuesday after “constructive” talks between new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa and Zuma.

Ramaphosa said on Wednesday he was holding direct talks with Zuma over a transition of power and he hoped to conclude their discussions “in coming days.”

But leaked comments from senior ANC official Paul Mashatile suggested that at the weekend Zuma was “digging in”.

Mashatile was part of a group of the ANC’s top six most powerful officials who met Zuma late on Sunday at his official residence in Pretoria in a bid to convince him to resign.

“Zuma basically said to us: ‘I‘m not going anywhere. I‘m not convinced by you guys so I‘m not going to resign,” Mashatile told investors at a mining conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“His comments emerged in a recording leaked to several domestic media outlets late on Wednesday.

“Our view is that if the president doesn’t want to resign, for whatever reason, we have a party to run that is going to be very soon in the election campaign,” Mashatile said.

“We want to ensure that we are not involved in motions of no-confidence, or impeachment that will affect our party.”

Mashatile was not immediately available for comment and an ANC spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

South Africa holds elections next year and ANC leaders worry Zuma’s tenure, which has included corruption scandals and an economic slowdown, could help it lose a majority it has held since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Zuma took power in 2009 but has been in a weakened position since Ramaphosa replaced him as ANC leader in December.

Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes in parliament but faces another on Feb. 22 filed by the far-left opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters.

ANC officials say they want Zuma to resign rather than be forced out by a vote of the ANC’s executive committee, or a parliamentary no-confidence vote, either of which could expose divisions in the party.

 

Jacob Zuma Refuses To Resign

South African President, Jacob Zuma has refused to resign despite pressures on him.

This was revealed by the Former ANC youth leader turned founder of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema in a tweet after Zuma’s meeting with the ANC top brass.

“He refused to resign and he told them to take a decision to remove him if they so wish to do so because he didn’t do anything wrong to the country,” Malema said.

Meanwhile supporters and detractors of Zuma on Monday protested outside the ruling party headquarters in Johannesburg over his decision not to resign.

Scandal-plagued Zuma has been under increasing pressure to leave office before his term finishes in 2019 but reportedly dug in his heels during talks with African National Congress (ANC) top brass Sunday night.

ANC leaders are holding another emergency meeting Monday, local media said.

South Africa’s opposition parties and factions in the ANC say Zuma should not be allowed to give the annual state of the nation address on Thursday, calling him a lame duck president since the election of reformer Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC leader.

Zuma’s nearly two terms in office have been blighted by hundreds of corruption allegations, but he has so far managed to dodge prosecution.

Radical political party Black First Land First have organized a protest in support of the president under the banner “#HandsOff Zuma.” But another group of ANC supporters had gathered with signs reading “Zuma must fall.”

South Africa’s parliament is scheduled to vote in a no-confidence motion against Zuma on Feb. 22.

Several such motions have failed in the past.

 

Imo Govt Denies Reported Costs Of Zuma, Sirleaf Statues

The Imo State Government has debunked the assertion that it spent Five Hundred Thousand naira each on the statutes erected by the Rochas Okorocha led administration.

Reacting to a news item run by popular tabloid GuardianNg, quoting the governor’s special assistant on electronic media Dr Ebere Nzewuji to have said that erecting each of the statutes cost between 450 thousand Naira and Five hundred thousand, the Imo Government said the report is untrue.

It said the report was just a mere distortion of facts and misrepresentation of the earlier statement.

 

Read Nzewuji’s rejoinder below:

Rejoinder: Guardian Ng and All News Editors – N400,000 and N 500,000 spent on Statutes in Imo Statutes.

My attention has been drawn to news report on Guardian Ng dated Nov.23rd 2017 on my Darling FM interview quoting my humble self as saying that His Excellency the Governor of Imo state approved between N450,000 and N500,000 each on statutes in Imo as opposed to N520m each. This is taking out of context as i never said that. What I said was that most times opposition politicians could exaggerate projects of N450k to N500k to say they cost millions. This wasnt a direct reference to the statutes.

Also i never said that 27 roads have been earmarked, i said many rural roads in the 27 local government areas have been earmarked for rehabilitation. Please note that my surname is not Nzeworji but Nzewuji.

Please note the above statements for clarification in your various publications. Regards, Dr Ebere Nzewuji Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo State on Electronic Media

South African President Zuma Survives No-Confidence Vote

The South African president, Jacob Zuma, has narrowly survived a motion of no confidence against him in parliament, the most serious attempt yet to unseat him after months of growing anger over allegations of corruption and a sinking economy.

It was the sixth such vote of his increasingly beleaguered presidency, but the first involving a secret ballot, with a broad coalition of opposition parties and renegade MPs from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) falling just short of the simple majority needed to force Zuma and his cabinet to resign immediately.

The ballot counting was accompanied by scenes of singing and dancing on both sides of the assembly, as rival parties sought to project confidence. “We taught you this song, and you don’t even sing it properly,” jeered the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, dressed in signature red overalls, addressing his ANC counterparts.

Baleka Mbete, the National Assembly’s speaker, announced the result: 198 MPs voted against, compared with 177 in favour. There were nine abstentions. “Therefore the motion of no confidence in the president is accordingly negative,” declared Mbete.

ANC MPs in parliament whooped and danced at the news.

An upbeat President Zuma arrived at the parliamentary precinct about an hour after the result was announced. “I’ve just come to say thank you to all of you. Those comrades who are in parliament needed the support from the membership. You came in your numbers to demonstrate that the ANC is there, is powerful, is big. It is difficult to defeat the ANC, but you can try,” he said.

He then gave a rendition of Yinde Lendlela, his signature tune. The title translates from Zulu as “It’s a Long Road”, and the implication is clear: his journey is not over yet.

In the hours before Tuesday’s vote, a series of coordinated protests across South Africa demanded Zuma’s removal. A petition signed by more than a million people was delivered to the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is seen as Zuma’s main rival.

Zuma, 75, has never been far from scandal since he became president in 2009. Another major criticism raised during the parliamentary debate included allegations that he had allowed the state to be “captured” by the Guptas, an Indian business family that has been at the centre of a string of media exposés about graft in government and state-owned enterprises.

The no-confidence motion was brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the largest opposition party, in response a cabinet reshuffle in March, in which Zuma sacked the popular finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The president was playing “Russian roulette” with the economy, according to the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane.

“I never imagined that one day I would be here in this parliament fighting a new form of oppression,” Maimane said during the debate on the motion. “A corrupt system that keeps our people imprisoned in poverty. If you told me that one day our democratically elected president would end up corrupted and captured by a criminal syndicate, I would have never believed you. But here we are.”

In response, ANC MPs argued that the party remained united behind Zuma, and had set up internal processes to deal with accusations of corruption and poor governance. The no-confidence motion was dismissed repeatedly as an attempted power grab by the opposition.

“[The opposition] are using the constitution so as to collapse government, deter service delivery and sow the seeds of chaos in society so as to ultimately grab power … Shame on you!” said Doris Dlakude, the ANC’s deputy chief whip.

Although Zuma has survived this battle, he is still fighting for his political future. His term as president expires in 2019 and under the South African constitution he cannot run again.

More immediately, his term as president of the ANC expires in 2017. He is lobbying hard to install the former African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is his ex-wife, as his successor. Opponents within the party are largely rallying behind Ramaphosa, although there are other names in the mix.

Despite the parliamentary defeat, Maimane hailed the close vote as a victory for the opposition DA. “Today’s motion of no confidence result is closer than anyone expected. The result reveals an ANC that is totally divided against itself. Jacob Zuma has survived, but he has nothing to celebrate tonight. He is mortally wounded and his party is in tatters. Tonight’s result, despite the slender victory, signals the death of the ANC,” he said in a statement.

But outside parliament, where hundreds of pro-Zuma supporters were gathered, a celebratory atmosphere prevailed. The police minister, Fikile Mbalula, told the crowd. “We were inside [parliament], they said they’re going to topple the president. But with your support, we have defeated them inside. There are those who have been asking [us to vote with] our conscience. We’ve got political conscience to keep the ANC in power forever, and that is political conscience … The African National Congress will survive!”

While the ANC, Africa’s oldest liberation movement, and the president live to fight another day, there is little doubt that both are wounded by Tuesday’s proceedings. “ANC MPs were ordered to vote to retain President Zuma. It looks like at least 25, possibly as many as 30, willingly defied that order. This looks like the first big sign of a possible rebellion against him in the ANC,” said Stephen Grootes, a political analyst with Eyewitness News.

Zuma must also contend with a supreme court of appeal hearing on 15 September, which will decide whether to reinstate 783 criminal charges against him, including fraud, corruption and racketeering.

Source: The Guardian

South Africa’s President Sacks Finance Minister

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has sacked Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan after days of speculation that rocked the country’s markets and currency.
Mr Gordhan will be replaced by Malusi Gigaba, said a statement issued late on Thursday by the president’s office.

Earlier this week, President Zuma recalled Mr Gordhan from planned events in the UK.

Sfiso Buthelezi will become Deputy Finance Minister, replacing Mcebisi Jonas.

President Zuma also made a number of other changes in the cabinet.
“I have directed the new ministers and deputy ministers to work tirelessly with their colleagues to bring about radical socioeconomic transformation and to ensure that the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality,” President Zuma’s statement said.

Last October, Mr Gordhan was charged with fraud – but the charges were later dropped. He has described the allegations as politically motivated.

Mr Gordhan has been seen as standing up to President Zuma in cabinet and has warned against corruption becoming rampant.

The South African Communist Party, an ally of the governing African National Congress, had earlier lodged a formal objection to plans to dismiss Mr Gordhan, who is widely respected internationally.

Many senior ANC figures also opposed the finance minister’s removal.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition party, said it would call a vote of no-confidence in President Zuma in parliament.

Mr Gordhan’s recall from the UK caused South Africa’s rand to lose nearly 5% of its value against major currencies earlier this week.

Pressure has been growing on Mr Zuma to step down amid numerous allegations of corruption. He denies the claims.

BBC Africa

MTN Contributed To Boko Haram Killings – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the slow registration of Nigerians on the MTN lines by the service providers contributed to the killing of at least 10, 000 innocent Nigerians by the insurgents, Boko Haram.

He made the remark during a joint press conference after holding closed door meeting with South African President, Jacob Zuma at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the concern of the Federal Government was purely security and not the fine imposed on MTN.

Answering questions on Tuesday, Buhari said: “This is the first time I will be personally as a president making a public comment about it. The concern of the federal government is basically on the security and not the fine imposed on MTN.

“You know how the unregistered GSM are being used by terrorists. And between 2009 and today, at least 10,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram.

“That was why NCC asked MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register GSM. Unfortunately, MTN was very, very slow and contributed to the casualties,” he added.