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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma survives vote to oust him

South African President Jacob Zuma sings at the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on Nov. 18, 2016.

ROGAN WARD/REUTERS

President Jacob Zuma escaped a move to oust him as the leader of South Africa by senior members of his ruling party, it was announced Tuesday.

A motion to dismiss Zuma, 74, over a string of corruption allegations since he came to office in 2009 was introduced at a meeting of the National Executive Committee, or NEC, of the African National Congress in Pretoria on Saturday.

The majority of the ANC's 80 executive committee members voted to keep Zuma in office, the party's secretary general Gwede Mantashe told journalists in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon.

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"Following honest, robust, candid and at times difficult discussion, the NEC did not support the call for the president to step down," said Mantashe.

"All members of the NEC had the opportunity to raise in the meeting the issues they feel are hurting the movement and the country," he said.

Fresh from his victory, Zuma left Tuesday for Cuba to attend the funeral of Fidel Castro.

Many ANC members have blamed Zuma's corruption scandals for the party's poor performance in local elections in August in which it lost the key municipalities of Johannesburg and Pretoria to the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. It was the worst performance for the ANC, once led by Nelson Mandela, since it won power at the end of apartheid in 1994.

Three weeks ago Zuma survived a no-confidence motion in Parliament that was raised by the Democratic Alliance after the state corruption watchdog issued a report which alleged that he may have abused his position to win state contracts for his friends, the wealthy Gupta family.

Zuma also faces the reinstatement of 783 corruption charges for an arms deal more than a decade ago. His term as the ANC's leader expires in December 2017.

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