South Africa's ANC debating Zuma's exit, no date agreed

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa

Mr Zuma, whose scandal-plagued tenure has hurt the popularity of Africa's oldest liberation party and the country's economy, has come under increasing pressure to step down since being replaced as party leader in December by Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's deputy president.

"This was defeated by other members who proved that the previous NEC never took such a decision", another NEC member said.

Zuma's hold over the ANC was shaken when his chosen successor - his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - lost out to Ramaphosa in the closely-fought race to be party leader.

On Saturday a government committee headed by Ramaphosa appointed a new board at state-owned power utility Eskom to help tackle governance concerns.

However, an ANC spokeswoman declined to comment on reports that its newly-elected National Executive Committee (NEC) had resolved to ask Zuma to resign. Ramaphosa, 65, on Sunday left South Africa to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.

According to the executives of the party, "we discussed this matter... there will be interaction between officials, President Zuma and (party) president (Cyril) Ramaphosa and there is no timeline." .

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says such developments have instilled confidence.

Ramaphosa is expected to adopt more business-friendly policies, even though he enjoys the support of the communist party and the biggest labor union federation.

"We focussed on education, land, agriculture, reviving the economy and making sure as we move forward we focus on issues of health", he said, reporting on an ANC meeting at the weekend.

"We are definitely in a phase where Zuma's power is waning and Ramaphosa's is on the rise", said Judith February, a senior research associate at the Institute of Security Studies, by phone from Cape Town.

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