South African rand steady as investors wait to hear Zuma's fate

Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and embattled President Jacob Zuma

Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and embattled President Jacob Zuma

Another NEC member said that Ramaphosa had earlier told the NEC that Zuma had agreed to step down during his direct talks with him last Tuesday, 6 February.

Beleaguered South African President Jacob Zuma denounced efforts to oust him as "unfair" on Wednesday, as senior members of his party ramped up their chaotic efforts to end his corruption-tainted tenure.

For years, the ANC has put party unity first, even as it became apparent that Zuma was an electoral liability.

The ANC caucus in parliament chose to move the vote forward after it formally asked Zuma to resign on Tuesday. He is expected to respond later in the day to a formal request from the ANC.

Both Zuma and the Guptas deny the accusations.

Earlier, the ANC announced it is recalling President Jacob Zuma.

"We will possibly elect a new president on Thursday ... if not Friday", ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile told journalists, assuming scandal-hit Zuma will lose the vote.

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She said one reason the rand didn't react much to Tuesday's announcement by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule that the party was recalling Zuma was because the president's removal had already been priced into the rand's level "for over a week".

"I have disagreed with a decision that is taken", he said.

He also said reports that the Hawks have carried out raids connected to the Gupta family continue "to send out the signal that SA Inc is on the right path to really fight corruption".

ANC officials were not reachable Tuesday, but the party called a press conference for 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) at its headquarters in Johannesburg. The ANC chairperson is also on record to have said if Zuma failed to respect the recall they will employ more drastic means. He faces more than 780 allegations relating to a 1990s arms deal alone, and faces criticism for his links to a family of powerful businessmen, the Guptas.

"The (ANC) is undergoing a period of difficulty, disunity and discord. and (looking for) a new beginning", said ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, who the party wants to be Zuma's successor. Neither of these appeared to yet be in play for the ANC, although the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party has already submitted a motion for a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

If he refuses to step down, the matter will go before parliament, which could remove him on a vote of no-confidence.

The US is scheduled to release January's inflation data at 3.30pm South African time‚ giving a clue as to when its central bank would raise interest rates further.

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