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FILE PHOTO: South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma arrives for the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 28, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo(reuters_tickers)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African President Jacob Zuma should step down, a senior ruling African National Congress official said, raising fresh pressure on Zuma who has been weakened since Cyril Ramaphosa became ANC leader in December.
Zuma faces a growing chorus of calls for him to resign as president and is expected to meet the ANC's six most powerful officials this weekend, state broadcaster SABC said.
Deputy President Ramaphosa is in pole position to win an election next year and many in the party want Zuma out so that Ramaphosa can embark on his anti-corruption agenda.
"There should be a change of guard. You can't have two centres of power. The best possible way is if the state president exits," ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told CNBC Africa late on Friday.
"How do you do it? .... Go to him and say 'look we're not booting you out but we think we can work better this way'," he said. There was no immediate comment from an ANC spokeswoman.
Zuma faces a no-confidence vote on Feb. 22 after a request from the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters but Mashatile said he opposed that method of removing the president.
Zuma, who is battling corruption allegations, has been in a weakened position since he was replaced as leader of the ANC in December by Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president.
Mashatile, Ramaphosa and the rest of the top-six leadership team, were in the northern Limpopo province on Saturday to meet traditional leaders.
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)