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Bid to topple Zuma leaves opposition in catch 22

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President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.

Cape Town - Opposition parties trying to get Jacob Zuma to resign are in a conundrum: if they bring down an unpopular president they may lose their best chance to win the next election.

“I suspect opposition leaders are eternally torn on the subject,” said Daryl Glaser, a political science professor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “A lot of them may genuinely want Zuma to go and they may hope that his going spawns a kind of chaos and division in the ruling party that they could benefit from. It is also undeniable that Zuma is something of an electoral asset to opposition parties.”

Since he took power in May 2009, Zuma has been dogged by scandal, and is on his fourth finance minister in less than two years, with S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings cutting South Africa’s credit rating to junk. The African National Congress suffered its worst-ever electoral performance since the end of apartheid in a municipal vote in August that saw it lose control of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

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