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South Africa's parliament speaker to consider Zuma no-confidence vote request

JOHANNESBURG The speaker of South Africa’s parliament said on Sunday she would consider a request from opposition parties to hold a no confidence vote on President Jacob Zuma.

Baleka Mbete, who is also the national chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), made the remarks in a televised news conference after she cut short a trip abroad.

Zuma’s sacking of his finance minister last week shook South African markets, undermining his authority and threatening to split the ANC which has governed since the end of apartheid.

The main opposition parties, the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters Party (EFF), both wrote Mbete asking that she reconvene parliament and hold an urgent sitting on the issue.

Previous no-confidence motions against Zuma have failed as the ANC has a commanding majority, but there is a growing backlash against him from within his own party and its allies after a string of missteps and scandals.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said he disagreed with the decision to sack Pravin Gordhan, a widely respected finance minister whose ousting could trigger damaging credit ratings downgrades.

The South African Communist Party, a key political ally of the ANC, said on Friday that “Zuma must now resign”, while Gordhan on Saturday called for mass mobilisation at a memorial for anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada where the crowd, which included many ANC supporters, chanted for Zuma’s removal.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Jeremy Gaunt)


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