WANTS EXPANDED POWERS: Embattled South Africa president Jacob Zuma

Embattled South African President Jacob Zuma may not live out his second five-year term, and already people in the country are floating names of a possible successor.

Writing in Business Day Columnist Allister Sparks named Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zuma’s former wife, the current Africa Union Chairperson Dlamini Nkosana-Zuma, as being among the people favoured to succeed Zuma should the president be impeached.

According to Mr Sparks, former President Kgalema Motlanthe’s name as possible successor to Zuma has also surfaced, ostensibly backed by the Gauteng branch of the ruling party, the Africa National Congress (ANC).

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The 73-year old Jacob Zuma has not had a very smooth presidency, beginning with a scandal involving his private Nkandla home where millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money were reportedly spent on its upgrade. Also, he was recently in the news for hiring and firing two finance ministers in just under a week, triggering off a volley of accusations of incompetence, some made by top ANC officials, and calls for him to step down.

The developments come in the wake of the Speaker of National Assembly Baleka Mbete warning of ‘chaos and instability in the country if President Jacob Zuma were to be removed from power.’

Reportedly a close confidant of President Zuma, Ms Mbete, who was also a Vice President under Dr Kgalema, said she would not support ‘chaos and disruption unless I know what you are talking about and I agree with it’.

Jacob Zuma was first elected South African president in 2009 and was re-elected in 2014 to serve his second and last term that is supposed to end in 2019.

Should Zuma be edged out before the expiry of his term, he will become the second South African president after Thabo Mbeki, to be impeached.