South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has denied claims that he is pushing for the appointment of former African Union chairperson as the country’s deputy president.
According to reports, the president demanded Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s appointment at a meeting last week in Durban with his deputy and newly-elected African National Congress (ANC) president‚ Cyril Ramaphosa.
Dr Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife, narrowly lost the ANC election to Mr Ramaphosa in December, in a race many viewed as a major blow to the South African leader, who had thrown his weight behind her campaign.
The ANC leader is expected to contest South Africa’s presidency next year during the country’s general election, and stands a strong chance of winning.
“No such discussion has taken place and no such demand has been made anywhere by President Zuma‚” read a statement from the presidency.
The Presidency further said it had noted several distortions in media reports in relation to the meeting between President Zuma and Mr Ramaphosa.
The two leaders held their first formal meeting following the assumption of office by the deputy president as President of the governing party, the ANC.
“They discussed several issues updating each other on matters in both government and the governing party,” the presidency said. “The two leaders met alone‚ and reports of other leaders being present are false.”
Further, President Zuma briefed Mr Ramaphosa on his plans to institute a commission of inquiry into state capture.
The two leaders announced they will hold weekly meetings to ensure synergy between the governing party and government.
“The Principals have indicated that the meetings are now critical to ensure synergy between the governing party and government since President Zuma is no longer a member of the ANC National Officials known as the Top Six. It would enable the Deputy President to keep the head of state and government abreast of issues discussed by the leadership of the governing party,” said the presidency.
Meanwhile, President Zuma’s future as the country’s leader hangs in the balance as some party members in the newly elected National Executive Committee are calling for his removal citing two centres of power with President Zuma at the helm of the country and Mr Ramaphosa the governing party’s leader.