ANC Calls Report of Plan to Oust Ramaphosa ‘Gossip’

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s ruling party said a newspaper report that former President Jacob Zuma and other top figures in the African National Congress met secretly last week to discuss a strategy to remove his successor Cyril Ramaphosa was “shameless gossip.”

Zuma held talks in Durban on Thursday with party allies, including ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule and former premier of the North West province Supra Mahumapelo, the newspaper reported, without citing anyone. It published photographs of them at a hotel in the Indian Ocean city.

ANC Calls Report of Plan to Oust Ramaphosa ‘Gossip’

The ANC “will not dignify these blatant lies and fabrications with a detailed response,” the party said in an emailed statement.

The group is believed to have discussed a potential legal challenge to Ramaphosa’s election as party president at the ANC’s national congress last year, the paper reported. The challenge would be based on the allegedly high number of illegitimate delegates, it said.

Zuma first held talks with Magashule, who runs the day-to-day operations of the ANC, and Mahumapelo, before discussions with a larger group, the Times said, citing unidentified witnesses. Magashule denied there had been a meeting with Zuma, according to the newspaper.

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has estimated that more than 100 billion rand ($6.6 billion) may have been plundered during Zuma’s almost nine-year tenure in a process known as “state capture.” Zuma, who was forced to step down in February by the ruling party, has denied any wrongdoing.

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