Jacob Zuma’s fate to be decided at South African ruling party meeting

Updated 9:21 AM EST, Mon February 12, 2018
Pretoria, South Africa CNN —  

South Africa’s embattled President Jacob Zuma was expected to learn his fate Monday at a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling African National Congress party.

The party’s new leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, admitted Sunday that the issue of whether Zuma should continue as President amid a number of corruption charges was damaging the party that led South Africa out of apartheid.

At an ANC rally in Cape Town, he said Monday’s meeting would “finalize” the matter, but he gave no further details.

“It is the interests of you, our people, that must be put first, and not the interests of anyone else,” he said. “We know that this matter has to be finalized. We know you want closure.”

Zuma, 75, has held on to power after refusing to abide by a request from senior officials a week ago that he resign.

“South Africa can’t be held to ransom,” official opposition leader Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance said in a news conference Monday.

He called for the immediate removal of Zuma and his “cronies” and rejected any kind of compromise deal that would allow Zuma to step aside peacefully and avoid prosecution.

“We reject any amnesty deal as an insult,” he said.

Maimane said that the Democratic Alliance and other opposition parties agreed to mass action on February 22, the day of a scheduled parliamentary no-confidence vote over Zuma.

“South Africans must flood the streets,” he said.

In 2016, South Africa’s top court ruled that Zuma had acted unconstitutionally when he used $15 million in public funds to upgrade his private home, and ordered him to repay some of the money.

Zuma also faces more than 780 allegations of corruption relating to a 1990s arms deal. He denies all the corruption allegations against him.

This story has been updated to correct the year that the Constitutional Court ordered Zuma to repay public funds over house improvements, and the amount he was ordered to pay.