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Speculation and rumours around Zuma's future keep The Presidency on its toes

Feb 7, 2018
Speculation and rumours around Zuma's future keep The Presidency on its toes

The Presidency had a busy day of fire-fighting on Tuesday owing to public speculation and uncertainty over the future of President Jacob Zuma.

Special Cabinet Meeting

First it was reports that Zuma had summoned Ministers to a special urgent Cabinet Meeting.

"What is taking place today are routine meetings of Cabinet Committees which are scheduled months before. Cabinet had been in recess and resumed business last week with the Cabinet lekgotla," said spokesperson, Dr Bongani Ngqulunga.

"The meetings of Cabinet Committees take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to process matters that will be taken to Cabinet.

"The committee meetings are attended by both Ministers and Deputy Ministers while Cabinet meetings are attended by Ministers only."

Dr Ngqulunga said that a routine Cabinet meeting will take place next week.

"There is nothing unusual or extraordinary about the meetings. The schedule was finalised last year."

Zuma intends to fire Ramaphosa

Then there were allegations that President Zuma was planning a Cabinet reshuffle that he would apparently use to fire his Deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, - who is by any notion the next President after winning the African National Congress (ANC) succession race in December last year.

According to a statement by the South African Communist Party (SACP), whose leaders fell out of favour with the Zuma faction of the ANC last year, Zuma was planning to fire Ramaphosa and replace him with his ex-wife, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

That is even after Ramaphosa beat Dr Dlamini-Zuma in the ANC succession race.

"[The allegations] are preposterous and outrageous," said Dr Ngqulunga.

"The allegations are completely baseless.

"The allegations of ethnic mobilisation by the President are equally without foundation." 

Vladmir Putin visiting South Africa

Then an apparently fake media statement made rounds on social media purporting to be from The Presidency, claiming a State Visit to South Africa by President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation from 8 to 11 February 2018.

"There is no state visit by President Putin to South Africa this week," said Dr Ngqulunga.

"The Presidency has issued no such statement. The circulating statement is fake and is a fabrication."