Zuma to set up commission to probe influence-peddling

Siphiwe Sibeko  Reuters                       Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema at a protest outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria

The ANC special national executive committee (NEC) meeting‚ the first for 2018 and for the newly elected-leadership collective‚ has concluded without any fireworks.

On Sunday parliament said it would meet this week and review its rules relating to removing the country's president, after the constitutional court said on December 29 lawmakers had previously failed to hold Zuma to account, further fuelling rumours of an early exit for the 75-year-old leader.

"I am concerned that this matter has occupied the public mind for some time now and deserves urgent attention", Zuma said in a statement.

But talks of a motion to remove Zuma being forced into the agenda have been gaining momentum.

Zuma's detractors say that his continued tenure as state president will severely hamper the ANC's efforts to decisively win the 2019 elections.

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"The Zuma trigger today gives a glimpse of how the rand will react if Zuma does step down early, although this possibility is increasingly being priced in", said Christopher Shiells, a senior emerging market analyst at Informa Global Markets.

Transform RSA was demanding "an unequivocal and unconditional undertaking" by the party and its NEC, allies and partners that there would be no intention to discuss or decide on removing Zuma from office. He's spent years fighting a bid by opposition parties to have those charges reinstated and fending off allegations that he allowed members of the Gupta family to influence cabinet appointments and the award of state contracts.

Zuma previously appealed a court ruling ordering him to initiate the inquiry as directed by the nation's graft ombudsman, despite the ANC adopting a resolution that the investigation should proceed.

At 4.30pm, the rand was up 0.28% to R12.35 against the dollar from a close of R12.38 overnight in NY.

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