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Vol 57 No 20

Published 7th October 2016

South Africa

Zuma largesse under fire

The patronage networks which have sustained Jacob Zuma in the presidency are crumbling

As police fired rubber bullets at students in Johannesburg on 4 October protesting against rises in university fees, officials in the governing African National Congress were talking of a dangerous sense of drift in the government. Some ANC officials see a critical weakening in President Jacob Zuma's support base as his opponents pick off his allies in government one by one, they have told Africa Confidential. The deepening crisis in the universities had dominated the ANC's National Executive Committee meeting on 1-2 August. Although Zuma still commands majority support on the NEC, which has 86 members and 18 ex-officio members, some senior party people say backing for the President is ebbing away. This is partly due, they say, to sharp cuts in the amount of political patronage he controls.

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