ANC confirms Zuma recall

South African President Jacob Zuma.
South African President Jacob Zuma could soon be forced to leave office. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

South Africa's ruling ANC party confirmed Tuesday that it had decided to "recall" scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma from office, but said no deadline had been set for him to resign.

The confirmation came as opposition parties pushed to have the motion of no-confidence on the president brought forward.

ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule told reporters that President Zuma had "agreed in principle to resign and had proposed time frames extending from three to six months".

Mr Magashule said there was no deadline and that there was "continuing interaction" between party officials and President Zuma.

"In its wisdom, the NEC (National Executive Committee) decided... to recall its deployee Jacob Zuma," Mr 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 and the functioning of government."

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have given the National Assembly Speaker, Ms Baleka Mbete, an ultimatum to respond to their request to reschedule the no-confidence motion to this week.  

EFF had initially written to Ms Mbete two weeks ago demanding that a debate on President Zuma's fitness to hold office be held before the State of Nation Address (Sona). Ms Mbete agreed to the request for a motion of no-confidence, but set a

February 22 date. 

“The Speaker of National Assembly has responded to EFF saying she needs to consult Majority Party Chief Whip and Leader of Government Business; this she can only do so today. EFF has thus extended the deadline to 13h00 for court action on motion of no confidence scheduling this week,” read an EFF statement on Tuesday.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to support the motion and to ensure it was debated without delay.

“South Africa cannot continue to be held in limbo while Cyril Ramaphosa and Jacob Zuma, and their respective factions, continue to fight over the terms of Zuma’s exit. We need a swift resolution to this impasse as soon as possible,” said Mr Maimane.

There were widespread reports on Tuesday that Mr Magashule and his deputy Jessie Duarte were tasked to give President Zuma a 48-hour ultimatum to either resign or get fired. 

President Zuma is said to have told NEC to “do what you want” when requested to step down following Monday’s 13-hour meeting by the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences in Pretoria.

Mr Lawson Naidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) said ANC’s next option would be to vote with the opposition in the motion of no-confidence against the President February 22 in parliament.

“I think it’s unfortunate that the matter has dragged for as long as it had. There’s been a clear statement from the new leadership of the ANC that they would like President Zuma to step down. So far they’ve been unable to persuade him to do so,” said Mr Naidoo.

According to reports, President Zuma did not give an undertaking he would resign, but said he would publicly respond to the decision for him to be recalled.

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