South Africa’s ANC party confirmed today it had decided to “recall” scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma from office but said there was no deadline for him to resign, pitching the country into further uncertainty. ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told reporters that Zuma had “agreed in principle to resign and had proposed time frames extending from three to six months”.
But Magashule said there was no date for Zuma to stand down, and added that there would be “continuing interaction” between party officials and Zuma. “In its wisdom, the NEC (National Executive Committee) decided… to recall its deployee Jacob Zuma,” Magashule told reporters.
“The decision by the NEC to recall its deployee was taken only after exhaustive discussion on the impact such a recall would have on the country.” The ANC party can “recall” the head of state, but the process is a party-level instruction and he is under no constitutional obligation to obey.
The ANC said Zuma would respond to the recall decision tomorrow. The power struggle over Zuma’s departure has put the president at loggerheads with Cyril Ramaphosa, his expected successor, who is the new head of the African National Congress.
The ANC’s leadership committee met for 13 hours at a hotel outside Pretoria, and decided in the early hours of Tuesday to “recall” Zuma from his post. A committee member confirmed to AFP that the president had asked for three more months in office, and described the request as “hogwash”. “We just felt he meant three months of looting,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The political deadlock has plunged South Africa — Africa’s most developed economy — into confusion over who is running the country, with a series of public events cancelled last week including the annual State of the Nation address to parliament. South African opposition parties have called for early elections as the ANC’s leadership battle grinds on. — AFP