JOHANNESBURG – African National Congress (ANC) dismissed a media report on Tuesday that President Jacob Zuma’s removal would be discussed at a key party meeting this weekend as untrue.
Opposition to Zuma inside the ANC and from opposition parties and civil society groups has swelled since he axed respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan in late March, triggering credit downgrades to “junk” by two rating agencies.
The Bloomberg news agency quoted two anonymous sources as saying the ANC would discuss the removal of Zuma at a meeting of top party leaders at the weekend, sending the rand 1.5 percent firmer against the dollar.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa denied the report, saying it was “a complete fabrication and not true”.
A senior member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) told Reuters he was unaware of any changes to the draft agenda of a major policy meeting next month to include a debate on Zuma’s future as party leader.
“Clearly it must be on the minds of many people but I don’t know of anything specific,” the member of the ruling party’s top leadership structure said.
Zuma, 75, whose term ends in 2019, survived an internal bid to remove him in 2016 following a Constitutional Court ruling that he had violated his oath of office by refusing to reimburse the state for upgrades to his personal residence.
Zuma was also implicated in a report by an anti-corruption watchdog for allegedly allowing members of a family of Indian-born businessmen to influence cabinet appointments and tenders given by state firms.
Zuma and the Gupta family have denied any wrongdoing.