World

Why Gigaba and Magashule's comments on Zuma resigning are confusing

Why Gigaba and Magashule's comments on Zuma resigning are confusing

After a 13-hour meeting of the ANC's leadership, the party's secretary-general on Tuesday said Zuma should resign promptly and that a response is expected from the president on Wednesday.

A senior ANC official told Reuters the party has made a decision to "recall" Zuma - ANC-speak for "remove from office".

As recently as Tuesday, Mashatile had said party leaders had not discussed a confidence motion against Zuma, preferring instead to give him "time and space" to respond to the recall.

Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party called the recall an "internal ANC resolution, nothing more".

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has never been convicted of corruption. Top ANC officials, including party leader Cyril Ramaphosa, were unable to persuade Zuma to step down immediately.

He is said to have argued that in light of the state capture inquiry investigating Zuma's relationship with the Guptas, threat of impeachment and a motion of no confidence against him, recalling him was "saving Zuma from himself".

If the president agrees to go, the ANC will call a special sitting of parliament to formalize Zuma's resignation.

Meanwhile, South Africa's presidency told the media to "await official notification" of a media briefing by the president, amid expectations that he is about to resign as head of state. His deputy, businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, elected as ANC head in December, is expected to replace him. The Economic Freedom Fighters, the third biggest party, last month proposed the no-confidence motion that's now due to be debated on 22 February, and plans to go to court if it isn't brought forward.

Zuma has, nonetheless, withstood the scandals and opposition parties' repeated attempts to remove him.

Magashule said Zuma asked for three to six months to complete the job, but said the party felt that was too long, given his sinking approval ratings as critical elections approach next year.

"We chose to recall Zuma".

It comes after an early morning raid by the elite Hawks police unit at the home of a business family linked to President Zuma.

The stalemate over his departure has left Africa's most developed economy in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled last week, including Thursday's State of the Nation address to Parliament.

In recent weeks, attempts by senior party members to convince Mr Zuma to leave have come to nothing.

He was scheduled to stand down next year after serving the maximum two terms after coming to power in 2009.


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