South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has held crisis talks to discuss the fallout from a court ruling last week that President Jacob Zuma breached the Constitution, triggering calls for him to resign.
Pressure on Zuma remains unrelenting as Parliament prepares today to debate an opposition resolution to impeach the president over the judgment that he effectively broke his oath of office.
The ANC backed Zuma after the Constitutional Court rebuked him for ignoring Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s order that he pay back some of the nearly 20 million euros spent on upgrading his private home.
The scandal, one of several which have dogged Zuma over the past decade, could strain relations between the ANC and its allies the South African Communist Party and labour federation Cosatu, which have helped it to retain power since the fall of apartheid in 1994.
Analysts say the Constitutional Court ruling is a blow to Zuma’s credibility and could harm the ANC ahead of municipal elections due between May and August.
The biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, knows that the ruling party’s impeachment motion will be dashed up against the ANC’s 62 percent parliamentary majority.
But it also knows that growing anger against Zuma, expressed by the soldier’s trade union calling for his resignation, threatens to erode that majority.