ANC’s secretary general, Ace Magashule and his deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, have delivered to President Jacob Zuma, the decision of the party’s highest decision making organ to dismiss him from office.
The two party officials arrived at Zuma’s official residence in Pretoria this morning.
Reports said they spent about 90 minutes at the residence.
The ANC took the decision to recall Zuma after a marathon meeting on Monday that stretched into the early hours of Tuesday. President of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa at a stage left the meeting at St.Georges Hotel, outside of Pretoria to discuss with Zuma. When Zuma returned, the meeting still lasted another three hours.
The governing party is billed to address a news conference today on its plan to oust Zuma from office.
Zuma’s position as president became a problem after Ramaphosa won a hotly contested election to the presidency of the party in December. Since there cannot be two captains in a ship, the party began the move to ask Zuma to step aside.
The scenario was a replay of what happened in 2008, when Zuma hijacked the ANC presidency from sitting president Thabo Mbeki.
Ramaphosa, a union leader and lawyer was once tipped as Mandela’s pick to take over the reins as head of the 106-year-old ANC.
Ramaphosa narrowly defeated Zuma’s ex-wife and preferred successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the leadership vote, forcing him initially to tread carefully in handling Zuma for fear of deepening the rifts in the party a year ahead of an election.
Despite the damning decision to order Zuma’s “recall” – ANC-speak for ‘remove from office’ – domestic media have speculated that the 75-year-old might yet defy the party’s wishes, forcing it into the indignity of having to unseat him in parliament.
Shortly before midnight, the SABC state broadcaster said Zuma had been told in person by Ramaphosa that he had 48 hours to resign. A senior party source later told Reuters Zuma had made clear he was going nowhere.
“Cyril went to speak with him,” the source said, adding that when Ramaphosa returned to the ANC meeting in a Pretoria hotel, the discussions were “tense and difficult”.
“We decided to recall Zuma. He hasn’t been told yet,” the source said.
The ANC is expected to hold a media briefing in the afternoon to reveal the results of the meeting.
One domestic report said Zuma had asked for three months to resign, a request that was denied. Another report said Zuma simply told Ramaphosa: “Do what you want to do”.
Zuma’s spokesman did not answer his mobile phone.
On Friday, one of his wives, Tobeka Madiba-Zuma, posted comments on Instagram suggesting Zuma, who has challenged and defied attempts by the ANC and courts to rein him in, was prepared to fight and believed he was the victim of a Western conspiracy.
“He will finish what he started because he does not take orders beyond the Atlantic Ocean,” she said.
South Africa’s economy, the most sophisticated on the continent, has stagnated during Zuma’s nine-year tenure, with banks and mining companies reluctant to invest because of policy uncertainty and rampant corruption.
However, since mid-November when Ramaphosa emerged as a real ANC leadership prospect, economic confidence has started to pick up, while the rand – a telling barometer of Zuma’s fortunes – has gained more than 15 percent against the dollar.