South Africa’s Jacob Zuma hits back at ‘unfair’ efforts to force him from power

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The embattled South African leader digs in and says a no-confidence plan is “very unfair” – but he could be gone tomorrow.

South African President Jacob Zuma

South Africa is set to have a new leader on Thursday as the ANC prepares to kick out President Jacob Zuma in a no-confidence motion.

The party ordered him to resign yesterday but Mr Zuma – speaking in an unannounced interview on Wednesday – called the efforts to get rid of him “very unfair”.

“Nobody has ever provided the reasons. Nobody is saying what I have done,” he said.

An armed South African Police member outside the Gupta residence
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Police raided the Gupta residence in Johannesburg

Unless he quits in the coming hours, parliament is poised to remove the scandal-hit Mr Zuma, 75, on Thursday and replace him with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We can no longer keep South Africa waiting,” said senior ANC official Paul Mashatile.

But Mr Zuma showed no sign of going quietly when he appeared on television and said the ANC had not followed the proper procedure to unseat him.

“I need to be furnished on what I’ve done,” Mr Zuma said. “What is this hurry?”

Jacob Zuma's time could be running out
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Jacob Zuma has been discredited by corruption scandals

“This is being done in a manner like I’m being victimised,” he added.

The President said he would issue a statement later today.

The no-confidence plan is supported by opposition parties and so appears almost certain to succeed in kicking out Mr Zuma, who has been leader since 2009.

His defiant TV appearance came after an early morning raid by the elite Hawks police unit at the luxury Johannesburg home of a business family linked to President Zuma.

The Indian-born Guptas are suspected of using their ties with him to influence cabinet positions and land state contracts. They and Mr Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

Sky’s John Sparks, in Johannesburg, said police appeared to be acting fast to stop any documents and people from potentially leaving the country.

The ANC wants Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from Jacob Zuma
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Cyril Ramaphosa could become South Africa’s leader as soon as Thursday

President Zuma has been discredited by a number of corruption scandals and Mr Ramaphosa was chosen in December to replace him as ANC leader.

He was due to take over in 2019, when Mr Zuma was to stand down, but it now appears he will assume power much sooner.

The party – once led by Nelson Mandela – is desperately trying to resolve the leadership crisis and bounce back in popularity ready for the country’s next election.

Supporters of the ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa hold placards and chant slogans outside the ANC party headquarter in Johannesburg
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ANC members have called for Mr Zuma to go

As well as the Gupta claims, Mr Zuma is also waiting for South Africa’s chief prosecutor to make a decision on whether he will face old charges of corruption tied to an arms deal two decades ago.

More from Jacob Zuma

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  • South African president Jacob Zuma’s speech postponed amid pressure to quit

  • Cyril Ramaphosa elected as new leader of South Africa’s ruling ANC party

They 783 charged were reinstated last year after being thrown out in 2009.

The country’s top court also ruled in 2016 that the President had violated the constitution when he used state funds to pay for multi-million dollar upgrades to his private home. He repaid some of the money.

An armed South African Police member outside the Gupta residence

Jacob Zuma's time could be running out

The ANC wants Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from Jacob Zuma

Supporters of the ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa hold placards and chant slogans outside the ANC party headquarter in Johannesburg

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