February 14, 2018 7:45 am
Updated: February 14, 2018 2:49 pm

Political crisis in South Africa: President Jacob Zuma told to step down

ABOVE: South African President pushes back against demand that he steps down


South Africa’s ruling party says parliament could elect a new president on Thursday if President Jacob Zuma leaves office.

Jackson Mthembu, a senior official in the African National Congress, said the party wants to resolve the country’s leadership turmoil as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Brawl breaks out in South African parliament after opposition lawmakers insult president

Under an accelerated timeline, parliament would vote to remove Zuma from office on Thursday unless he resigns before then, Mthembu said. Lawmakers would then elect a new president immediately after the vote.

The ruling party wants Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from Zuma, who has not responded to an ANC order to quit.

WATCH: ANC orders Zuma to step down as South Africa’s president

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Zuma has been discredited by corruption scandals tied to an arms deal two decades ago.

South Africa’s chief prosecutor is expected to make a decision on whether to prosecute Zuma on the old charges, which were reinstated last
year after being thrown out in 2009.

In another scandal, South Africa’s top court ruled in 2016 that Zuma violated the constitution following an investigation of multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home using state funds. The president paid back some of the money.

READ MORE: Cape Town will deploy army, police to protect water source after taps run dry on ‘Day Zero’

On Wednesday, South African police raided the residential compound of a business family suspected of using its ties to Zuma to influence Cabinet appointments and land state contracts.

Agents from the Hawks, an elite police investigative unit, entered the compound of the Gupta family in Saxonwold, an affluent neighborhood in Johannesburg.

The Gupta business family has been a flashpoint for national anger over corruption in state enterprises during Zuma’s tenure. A judicial commission is preparing to investigate the alleged graft.

WATCH: South African president booed by crowd at Mandela memorial

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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