JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s ruling ANC party reaffirmed its support for President Jacob Zuma following Monday crisis talks, hours ahead of an impeachment vote called after the country’s top court ruled he had failed to uphold the constitution.
Zuma secured the backing of African National Congress heavyweights on Friday, having apologised for failing to repay some of the $16 million of state money spent on his private residence, which led to last week’s constitutional court ruling against him.
“The President has apologised and that’s the humility that is necessary for any leader,” ANC General Secretary Gwede Mantashe told 702 Talk Radio on Monday, after senior members of the party met to discuss Zuma the previous evening.
The scandal is arguably the biggest yet to hit the president, who has fended off accusations of corruption, influence peddling and even rape since before he took office in 2009.
The impeachment proceedings, launched by the Democratic Alliance-led opposition and scheduled to be debated and voted on on Tuesday afternoon, are unlikely to succeed because of the ANC’s strong majority in parliament.
South Africa’s rand currency weakened ahead of the vote, and following a warning by the central bank on Monday night that the risk of a credit ratings downgrade had increased.
At 0704 GMT, the rand traded at 14.9075 per dollar, 0.73 percent weaker from Monday’s New York close.