, Johannesburg, South Africa, Feb 6 – Top officials in South Africa’s ruling ANC party are divided over whether President Jacob Zuma should step down after multiple graft scandals, the party’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said Tuesday.
Zuma is due to deliver the annual state of the nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, despite growing calls for him to quit before the speech.
The African National Congress’ national executive committee will meet on Wednesday, hours before the address.
The 80-member national executive committee is the ANC’s highest decision-making body and could “recall” Zuma from the post of president — though he may also refuse to comply.
A separate committee of the top 20 ANC officials met in Johannesburg on Monday and “discussed the issue surrounding the future of President Jacob Zuma,” Duarte told reporters.
“It was discussed at a great deal of length. I can say to you that there are different views.
“What we are hoping for is that the NEC (national executive committee) will emerge with a united view on this matter and that once we have done so we will inform South Africans what that view is.”
Many ANC members are pushing for Cyril Ramaphosa, the new head of the party, to replace Zuma, 75, as president immediately.
But Zuma loyalists have said that the serving president should complete his second and final term in office, which would end when elections are held next year.