Johannesburg - As uncertainty mounts about President Jacob Zuma’s possible exit, questions have been growing about the country’s future post his leadership.
Analysts say Zuma’s departure would have a positive effect on the country’s economic outlook as hope rises on possible changes to come.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has been in talks with Zuma to negotiate a possible exit.
Talks are expected to continue on Saturday with the ANC’s top officials as pressure increases for Zuma to resign.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga believes that Zuma’s removal would provide for a shift in the country’s outlook even if that shift is small.
“Any shift away from Zuma will be a positive shift, no matter how less significant that shift may be. But any shift where Zuma is not President will give us a notch up in terms of integrity as a country and a little bit of investor confidence will return just by the removal of Zuma,” said Mathekga.
Wits Professor Susan Booysen shared similar sentiments and said Zuma's exit would be a relief for opponents of his presidency.
“The future of the ANC would not be smooth sailing, but it really reinstates the ANC’s chances to win the 2019 elections. Although it will depend on whether citizens believe that the ANC is cleaning up,” said Booysen.
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“Zuma’s removal would be a conditional relief for the ANC and for the country. An ANC under Ramaphosa would have to show that they have the determination to act against all that has been going wrong in the ANC and the country."
On the economic front, investors have been holding on in search of some certainty for country’s direction.
Ian Cruickshanks, Chief Economist at the Institute of Race Relations, says the markets have not been kind to Zuma’s leadership.
“In all the things that Zuma has been accused of the big thing is that the markets seem to indicate that if Zuma were to go it would be seen as positive for the South African economy. And that would lead to a flow of foreign capital into South Africa which we desperately need for development,” said Cruickshanks.
He says that the tussle to ensure Zuma leaves office will provide more damage to the markets.
“Him fighting to stay on will have a very negative impact. What financial markets hate more than anything else, is uncertainty. Until we get certainty over Zuma’s future, we are not going to get any certainty,” said Cruickshanks.
Reports emerged on Friday afternoon that Zuma had asked for his legal fees to waived as part of his exit from office. Zuma has faced a number of legal challenges over the years, from even before he was elected President in 2009.
His demand for his legal fees to waived is an indication that he is anticipating a number of legal challenges post his presidency.