The dollar and the rand. Picture: REUTERS, SIPHIWE SIBEKO
The dollar and the rand. Picture: REUTERS, SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The rand weakened sharply to R12.55 per dollar at 1pm on Wednesday from R12.34/$ at 9am after ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the removal of President Jacob Zuma was not on the agenda.

There was widespread local media speculation this week that Zuma’s opponents in the ANC’s newly elected 80-member national executive committee (NEC) would raise a motion of no-confidence at its first meeting under new party leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

Magashule told reporters at a break in the meeting in East London that the only item on the agenda was the statement to be read by Ramaphosa on January 13 to mark the 106th birthday of the ANC.

"That matter was not for any discussion or debate," Magashule told reporters in response to a question about whether Zuma’s future was raised.

"There was only one item on the agenda."

Zuma has been weakened since Ramaphosa narrowly defeated ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in an ANC leadership contest in December.

The ANC’s NEC, which was elected at the party conference in December, is meeting this week.

Two senior committee members said Ramaphosa’s faction in the ANC did not want to try to openly oust Zuma, since the NEC was only elected a month ago and because Ramaphosa’s victory was marginal.

There could be a less high-profile meeting of the NEC next week where a more serious discussion about Zuma’s leaving would be held, one of the senior party members said.

"Ramaphosa has to chart a very careful course so he can win broad ANC support and negotiate a dignified exit for Zuma," independent political analyst Daniel Silke said.

Reuters

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