In a move that demonstrates party supremacy, the African National Congress, ANC, has recalled President Jacob Zuma asking him to resign from office “for the sake of the country”.
In a Monday special National Executive Council meeting of the party, which ended in the early hours of Tuesday, the NEC confirmed that Zuma has been notified of its decision to recall him. Zuma, according to a party source, is expected to respond to the request on Wednesday even though no deadline was given him.
According to Ace Magashule, the ANC’s secretary general though, the NEC has decided the removal should be “treated with urgency”. This is because the ANC needed to build on the “renewed hope” brought about by the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC leader.
“It is obvious we want Comrade Ramaphosa to come in as the president of South Africa,” Magashule was quoted as saying.
Earlier talks between Zuma and Ramaphosa over the future of the president had been deadlocked making the intervention of the ANC NEC inevitable.
While Ramaphosa, the ANC and South Africans generally wanted Zuma to leave immediately, Zuma, on the other hand, proposed to leave but with a notice of three to six months. Sources within the ANC said Zuma was concerned mainly about his future – the payment of his legal fees after leaving office and security for him and his family.
“The primary concern of Mr Zuma is likely how to avoid going to jail, says Rafiq Raji, political economist and Chief Economist of Macroafricaintel Investment LLC.
Jacob Zuma has been in power since 2009 but is dogged by accusations of corruption, cronyism and scandals leading to negative image for the party and an electoral rebuke in 2016 municipal elections where the ANC lost some key strongholds to the opposition.