ANC to Remove Zuma as South Africa’s Head of State
South Africa’s ruling ANC party resolved Tuesday to oust scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma from office after he refused to resign, local media reported following marathon closed-door talks.
The party’s powerful 107-member national executive committee (NEC) met for 13 hours at a hotel outside Pretoria, and decided it would “recall” Zuma from his post, several local media outlets said.
“It took a brutal 13 hours, but the ANC’s national executive committee has decided to recall President Jacob Zuma as head of state,” the Times Live news website said, citing unnamed sources in the talks.
Other media reported that the party would write to Zuma ordering him to stand down as president, after his request for a few more months in office was rejected.
State broadcaster SABC said the ANC had given Zuma 48 hours to turn in his resignation.
ANC officials were not reachable to confirm the reports, but the party called a press conference for 12:00 pm (1000 GMT) at its headquarters in Johannesburg.
The ANC can “recall” the head of state, essentially forcing him to step down, but the process is a party-level instruction and he is under no constitutional obligation to obey.
If he refuses, he would then likely be ousted via a parliamentary vote of no-confidence within days.
As the dramatic power struggle built to a climax, African National Congress chief Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly left the all-night meeting for a face-to-face conversation with Zuma at his official Pretoria residence.
Ramaphosa’s motorcade was seen returning to the meeting at midnight. Three hours later, the talks closed.
Ramaphosa, the de-facto president-in-waiting, has been in deadlocked negotiations with Zuma, who dismissed an earlier request from party leaders to step down more than a week ago.
The stalemate around Zuma’s future plunged South Africa into political uncertainty over who is running the country, with a series of public events cancelled including last Thursday’s annual State of the Nation address to parliament.