A week after South African President Jacob Zuma appeared to have weathered calls to resign, former leaders of the ruling African National Congress are ratcheting up pressure on him to quit after his shock cabinet purge prompted two ratings agencies to downgrade the nation’s credit to junk. Former President Thabo Mbeki, in an opinion piece in the Johannesburg-based Star newspaper, joined another former leader, Kgalema Motlanthe, in urging ANC lawmakers to vote with their conscience on an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion in parliament on April 18. Veterans of the party, including all those jailed with Nelson Mandela who are still alive, called for a national conference to discuss South Africa’s worst political crisis in a decade.

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