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Vol 51 No 18

Published 10th September 2010

South Africa

President under pressure

The would-be usurpers plotting against President Jacob Zuma should not underestimate their target’s determination

President Jacob Zuma is hitting the media hard with a charm offensive before the governing party’s critical National General Council meeting on 19 September. His plan is to appeal to African National Congress supporters – the majority of South Africans – over the heads of the delegates, many of whom complain that Zuma’s leadership falls short of their hopes when they elected him at the Polokwane conference in 2007. The precedent that the ANC delegates established at Polokwane – of ousting Thabo Mbeki – a sitting president – might now be used against Zuma. Certainly, Zuma has fallen out with many in the coalition of trades unionists, communists and youth leaguers who voted for him in 2007 but he is a canny and determined operator: he will be not be pushed out without a fight.

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