Mandela's Former Wife Says Zuma Will Only Go If ANC Forces Him

  • Court ruled that Zuma broke constitution over house funding
  • Zuma under pressure to quit from ANC veterans, opposition

Nelson Mandela’s third and last wife, Graca Machel, said that while many South Africans want President Jacob Zuma to step down after courts ruled that he broke the constitution and corruption charges against him should be reinstated he will remain in place until the ruling party wants him to quit.

Zuma, 74, is facing calls to leave office from struggle veterans who were imprisoned with Mandela and opposition parties. In addition to the court rulings the African National Congress is investigating if his friends, the Gupta family, have influenced government appointments after two ANC officials said they were offered ministerial posts by them.

“The reason why Jacob Zuma will not go is because the ANC doesn’t want to open a hand for him to go,” Machel said at a panel at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday. “For Zuma, if the ANC doesn’t take away his position he will not go.”

Zuma is presiding over an economy that’s growing at the slowest pace since 2009 and has the highest unemployment rate in at least 8 years. The ANC will on Aug. 3 face opposition parties in municipal elections in which their hold over three major urban areas, including Johannesburg, is under threat.

Graca Machel, who was previously married to the former leader of Mozambique Samora Machel, married Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, in 1998. Mandela died in 2013.

Zizi Kodwa, a spokesman for the ANC, declined to comment.

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