Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

ANC to Discuss South African Power Shift With Zuma This Week

Updated on
  • ANC Treasurer-General Mashatile sees quick power transfer
  • Rand gains to highest since May 2015 on Mashatile’s comments

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress wants a speedy transition of power following its election of a new leadership and will discuss the matter with President Jacob Zuma this week, a top party official said. The rand gained.

“We are aware there are a lot of people who want the new leader of the ANC taking power,” Paul Mashatile, the party’s treasurer-general, said Wednesday at a conference in Cape Town. “It is going to happen. It is not a matter of booting him out.”

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected leader of the ANC last month, replacing Zuma. While Zuma’s second and final term as president is due to end around mid-2019, his immersion in a succession of scandals has eroded support for the ANC and led to calls from within the party’s ranks for his early removal.

The rand surged to its strongest level since May 2015, advancing as much as 1.1 percent to 11.8335 per dollar, and was trading at 11.8554 at 11:11 a.m. in Johannesburg. Yields on benchmark government bonds due December 2026 dropped seven basis points to 8.49 percent.

“The rand will continue to remain sensitive to the headlines surrounding political news,” Zaakirah Ismail, a fixed income analyst at Standard Bank Group Ltd., said by phone. “It certainly looks like there is pressure building for a plan for President Zuma’s removal.”

Mashatile said he couldn’t say whether Zuma will be removed before the Feb. 8 state-of-the-nation address.

“There has to be a very smooth and quick transfer of power now there is a new leader,” he said. “The question is how we will handle this.”

Mashtile’s comments contrast with those of ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule, who said no decision had been taken to remove Zuma, and those of Jessie Duarte, Magashule’s deputy, who told Johannesburg’s City Press newspaper that he would only step down next year.

— With assistance by Robert Brand

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