• Civil-rights groups seek president's ouster for breaching law
  • ANC KwaZulu-Natal chapter rejects calls for Zuma to step down

Leaders of the African National Congress in South Africa’s richest province said the scandal over President Jacob Zuma’s failure to repay taxpayers’ money spent on his private home damaged the ruling party’s image, while stopping short of urging him to resign.

“President comrade Jacob Zuma should reflect deeply and do the right thing to resolve the unprecedented crisis that the ANC currently faces,” the provincial executive committee of the ANC in Gauteng, which contains the capital, Pretoria, and the commercial hub, Johannesburg, said in a statement.

Calls for Zuma, 74, to step down by ANC veterans, church and civil-society organizations and business leaders intensified after the Constitutional Court ruled on March 31 that the president “failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution” by not repaying taxpayer money on upgrades at his personal residence in Nkandla. While Zuma apologized for the frustration and confusion the scandal had caused, he said he never intentionally did anything illegal.

Zuma, who’s led the ANC since December 2007, retains plenty of support in the state and the ANC, which has more than 4,200 branches nationally. His allies dominate the party’s National Executive Committee, the security services and parliament. The ANC Gauteng chapter didn’t back Zuma’s re-election as ANC leader in 2012. Broadcaster eNCA reported earlier that the ANC in Gauteng called for Zuma to step down.

The ANC chapter in Zuma’s home region of KwaZulu-Natal Tuesday said it supported the president. South Africa’s has nine provinces.

“We strongly reject with contempt it deserves the call by our legendary opponents and those within our ranks, including some religious leaders, for the president to step down,” Super Zuma, the KwaZulu-Natal party provincial secretary, said in an e-mailed statement.

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