How might South Africa's President Zuma leave office?

While the ruling African National Congress's top leadership has decided that Zuma, 75, must leave office - to win back voters and stoke investor confidence in the stagnant economy - without setting a deadline, newly elected party leader Ramaphosa and his supporters have moved decisively on two other fronts.

Zuma's exit would catapult Ramaphosa, 65, into the presidency and allow him to begin to fix an economy that suffered its second recession in nearly a decade in 2017 and has struggled to mount a strong recovery.

It is expected that Zuma's deputy and the new leader of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, will succeed him as head of state.

"We have not arrived at the decision that Zuma must go, or Zuma must not go".

Zuma's exit would catapult Ramaphosa into the presidency and allow him to begin to fix an economy that suffered its second recession in nearly a decade in 2017 and has struggled to mount a strong recovery.

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"We concurred that long-standing structural challenges continue to weigh on growth in South Africa", Lagarde said in a statement, adding: "We consequently agreed that bold and timely reforms are needed to create an environment conducive to job creation and less inequality". The ANC has held power since it won an election at the end of apartheid in 1994, but it now faces a revitalized opposition and could be set for a tough battle next year. His election as ANC leader helped boost the rand 10% last month.

Zuma still retains the support of a faction within the ANC, but several prominent allies have deserted him since December.

The ANC has repeatedly said it hasn't reached a decision on the matter.

"Zuma is in a corner and neutralised", said Professor Susan Booysen at Wits University's School of Governance.

He would not confirm whether a political deal would be offered to Zuma in return for his swift exit from office.

  • Stacy Houston