The African National Congress sought to show a united front Tuesday, a day after a failed rebellion against President Jacob Zuma deepened painful rifts in South Africa’s ruling party.
According to The Wall Street Journal, three days of fractious deliberations in the National Executive Committee, the ANC’s top decision-making panel, dealt the toughest challenge yet to Mr. Zuma, a 74-year old veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle who has ruled South Africa for the past seven years. The surprise offensive targeting the president raised speculation about an impending reshuffle of his cabinet just days before an important decision about the country’s credit rating.
“During the course of these discussions, a call was made for ANC president, Comrade Jacob Zuma, to consider stepping down as the president of the Republic of South Africa,” said ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe about the meeting, which ended late Monday.
“That call ultimately wasn’t acceded to after deliberations among comrades,” Mr. Mantashe added.
Mr. Zuma has weathered numerous scandals during his long career, but never had his own party turned on him as it did during the get-together in an upscale hotel outside the capital of Pretoria. Mr. Mantashe described the discussions as “robust, honest, candid and at times difficult” and said that almost every member of the 86-person committee took the floor.