Following repeated headlines and news reports that the South African president is set to resign, perhaps immediately, it was hardly a surprise this morning when South Africa’s ruling party – the Africa National Congress – confirmed it has ordered President Jacob Zuma to resign, signalling an end to his scandal-hit rule and paving the way for Cyril Ramaphosa to take power.
And yet, the confirmation prompted the South African Rand (ZAR) to slump…
… with two reasons being cited:
First, the announcement had been largely priced in following press reports that the ANC would recall Zuma after its marathon 13 hour meeting by the National Executive Committee.
Secondly and more important, it remains unclear how and when Zuma will go. In particular, traders are responding to two Bloomberg headlines which sparked selling in ZAR:
- *S. AFRICA’S ANC GIVING ZUMA TIME AND SPACE TO RESPOND.
- *ANC HASN’T DISCUSSED ZUMA NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION, GIVING HIM TIME
Ace Magashule, the ANC’s secretary general, said Mr Zuma, who has resisted pressure to step aside, had asked to remain in office for between three and six months, but was rebuffed due to the urgency of restoring the integrity of public institutions. Mr Magashule, an ally of the president, suggested that the ANC would now seek to remove Mr Zuma through a no-confidence vote in parliament, a move that is likely to extend the crisis in the ANC.
“All necessary parliamentary processes that arise from this decision will now ensue,” he said, signalling that the ANC is preparing a vote of no-confidence in Mr Zuma.
This suggests that while Zuma is leaving, it will neither be imminent, or even delayed. Meanwhile, as Citi’s desk notes, “Zuma will go, it is just a matter of how he will go …. This is positive although we may be in for a bumpy ride within the recent ranges until actual real news and clarification is a given.”
Finally, the worst case scenario is that even if Zuma is formally recalled, that does not mean he will leave.
So what happens then?
Zuma’s exit options are simple: if the president refuses to leave, then the ANC will be left with two options – a vote of no confidence and impeachment. The ANC is likely to prefer the former scenario given that the impeachment process would be long and drawn out, and need proof of misconduct. In regards to the no-confidence motion, the ANC says it has not discussed it yet. This would come as a disappointment that Zuma’s exit is not imminent.