NEWS
12/01/2018 06:02 SAST | Updated 12/01/2018 06:03 SAST

Zuma Wants Dlamini-Zuma As Interim President If He Resigns

Zuma reportedly will not resign unless several conditions are met, including that key Cabinet ministers stay on in their positions.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma dances with former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the last day of the six-day meeting of the African National Congress 5th National Policy Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Soweto, South Africa, July 5, 2017.

President Jacob Zuma wants Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to stand in as the country's interim president as a condition for his resignation, the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday. The president and his supporters have reportedly said so in negotiations with the ANC's new top six, including its president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma and his allies reportedly also want assurances that some Cabinet members will stay on in their portfolios, including Energy Minister David Mahlobo and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo.

But sources told the Mail & Guardian that the negotiations had deadlocked this week with ANC officials refusing to guarantee Zuma's conditions. Ramaphosa reportedly prefers Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Zulu or Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to take over as interim president should Zuma resign.

Last week, The Star reported that Zuma had been given an ultimatum by Ramaphosa supporters in the NEC, that he should either resign before this week's NEC meeting or face a motion of no confidence against him.

But on Tuesday night, on the eve of the meeting, Zuma announced that he would establish a commission of inquiry into state capture. This is said to have saved him, sources told the Mail & Guardian, as his failure to establish the commission was going to be used as the reason why he should resign at the NEC meeting.

Talk of Zuma's resignation had a positive impact on the rand, according to Business Day. City Press reported that Ramaphosa's backers were planning for him to take over the reins in the next few weeks and have him deliver the state of the nation address in February. But news that Zuma's resignation was not even discussed at the NEC meeting resulted in a dip in the rand, Business Tech reported. The rand slipped more than a percentage point against the dollar on Wednesday, the day of the meeting.

According to The Citizen, analysts believe it is far likelier that Zuma will be given the option to resign rather than being recalled for two reasons. Firstly, because ANC leaders do not want to humiliate him, and secondly, because he still has allies in the NEC that Ramaphosa supporters will not want to alienate.

Mahlobo is seen as key to Zuma's desire to see the nuclear energy plan be implemented, and allegedly put pressure on government officials to rush the implementation of the plan. His ties to Russia have also been questionable.

Bongo allegedly offered a bribe to the head of the parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom to scupper the investigation in exchange for money.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told the Mail & Guardian that he could not confirm the rumours about Zuma's conditions, but said Dlamini-Zuma would play a role in future ANC plans because she was "part of the collective".

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa reportedly said the ANC was aware of discussions between Zuma and Ramaphosa about "how to we ensure Luthuli House remains a centre of power without undermining the office of the president of the republic", but said he knew nothing of Zuma's reported conditions.