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South Africa’s ruling party announces decision to remove Jacob Zuma from presidency

Zuma, who had earlier defied the party’s call to step down within 48 hours, is likely to respond on Wednesday.

The African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party, on Tuesday announced that it has decided to remove President Jacob Zuma from the post.

The party’s Secretary General Ace Magashule said its current chief and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will take over the presidency and deliver the “State of the Nation” address. The party made the decision after an eight-hour meeting on Monday, he added.

“There is only one centre of power, and it is the African National Congress,” Magashule said at a press conference in Johannesburg. Zuma, who had earlier defied the party’s call to step down within 48 hours, is likely to respond on Wednesday.

“The decision of the ANC’s National Executive Committee to recall Comrade Zuma is final,” Magashule told reporters. “It cannot and will not change. We will treat Comrade Zuma with dignity and we will not humiliate him.”

Magashule, who met Zuma along with Ramaphosa on Monday night, said that the president had beseeched them to reconsider the time frame for the transition, especially considering the challenges that the party was facing. Zuma asked for three to six months, he said. However, they told Zuma that the party cannot wait that long and that Ramaphosa needs to take over quickly to ensure a smooth transition, Magashule added.


The leader of the Opposition Democratic Alliance party Mmusi Maimane, however, claimed that only Parliament can recall Zuma. “This recall is an internal ANC resolution, and nothing more,” he said. “It has no effect on Jacob Zuma’s current status as President of the Republic, and can be simply ignored by Zuma.”

The ANC, however, is reportedly not likely to support a no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition parties.

Zuma has been accused, among other things, of using government money to build a luxurious private home. Under his rule, economic growth slowed down and unemployment reached record low levels.

While Zuma continues to deny any wrongdoing, he has been facing a major challenge ever since Ramaphosa was elected in December 2017 to succeed him as the leader of the African National Congress. The leader of the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, is considered the most powerful person in the country.

Soon after Ramaphosa took over, analysts pointed out he was likely to recall Zuma from presidency.

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Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.


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This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.