Zuma releases 'public engagements' diary amid exit rumours
Johannesburg - Despite mounting pressure to resign as state president and rumors of an impending recall by his African National Congress (ANC) party, President Jacob Zuma on Monday released his month-long diary, signalling his intention to carry on with his executive duties rather than throw in the towel.
Speculation of Zuma's imminent departure intensified at the weekend with reports that the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) appointed six members to manage the president's exit.
The rumour mill went into overdraft when the Presidency announced that Zuma was unable to attend Monday's inauguration of former football star George Weah as the new Liberian president in Monrovia. SA Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane represented Pretoria.
The ANC, which is now led by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, has the power to recall the president.
The NEC meets on Monday, which has heightened expectations of Zuma's downfall. Ramaphosa, who was elected ANC leader last month, left for Davos on Sunday.
However, on Monday the Presidency uncharacteristically released Zuma's diary of "public engagements" as president for the next three weeks.
The diary indicates that Zuma will attend the 30th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union in Ethiopia on 28-29 January. He is scheduled to chair a Cabinet Lekgotla from 31 January to 2 February at Sefako Makgatho presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.
Some media reports have suggested that Zuma's days are numbered and he might not be president next month, but the Presidency said Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on 8 February.
Zuma's diary also indicates he will also be present when Parliament debates the State of the Nation Address on 13 and 14 February before giving his responses the following day.
During Ramaphosa's January 8 Statement address in East London, Zuma was booed and jeered four times by ANC members. But Ramaphosa has cautioned against humiliating Zuma, who is mired in several court cases that include allegations of possible corruption, and called for sensitivity in managing his removal.
African News Agency/ANA