South African President Jacob Zuma remains in charge of the nation and the economy, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa said, amid reports of Zuma’s ill health after a hospital stay.
“The President is in charge of the economy,” Ramaphosa told Johannesburg-based broadcaster ANN7 in an interview yesterday. Zuma, 72, is “the principal actor and, if you like, the commander-in-chief, of directing not only our country, but also the economy of our country,” he said.
Zuma was discharged from a Pretoria hospital on June 8 after doctors kept him for two days to rest during a routine checkup. The Johannesburg-based Sunday Times reported yesterday that Zuma is suffering from a heart condition, high blood pressure and diabetes, citing unidentified people in the government and the ruling African National Congress.
Ramaphosa, 61, stood in for Zuma at at least five public events since Zuma was released from the hospital, including a special three-day cabinet meeting that was convened before the president’s State-of-the-Nation speech on June 17.
“There is no changing of the guard,” Ramaphosa said in an interview with Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA on June 20. “There is only one guard and that is the president.”
Zuma was elected into office for a second five-year term after the ANC won 62 percent of the vote in last month’s poll.
“There is no competition between me and the president,” Ramaphosa told ANN7, when asked about the ruling party’s next leadership conference in three year’s time.
Zuma is scheduled to attend the African Union summit of heads of state in Equatorial Guinea from June 25 to 27, the presidency said in a statement yesterday.