ANC: 'Our decision is final'
But President Jacob Zuma has asked for until Wednesday to respond
The only response the ANC’s top leadership is expecting from President Jacob Zuma to a decision by its national executive committee that he has been recalled, is a resignation.
Zuma had given them an undertaking that he would respond on Wednesday to the decision to recall him from office.
Word of the decision to recall him has halted work in the state and has left the executive in limbo.
Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) confirmed an indefinite postponement of a cabinet meeting planned for Cape Town on Wednesday.
ANC lawmakers will gather on Wednesday morning for a special caucus meeting to clarify the way forward. All other portfolio committee meetings planned for Wednesday have been rescheduled.
On Tuesday, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule confirmed the party was anticipating Zuma’s resignation from office after they communicated to him the decision of the NEC in his official residence in Pretoria on Tuesday morning.
“We are expecting the president to respond tomorrow. There is no deadline. Tomorrow the president will respond,” he told journalists.
The secretary-general confirmed that the ANC’s NEC decided that Zuma will be replaced by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.“We decided that in terms of our constitution there is the president of the ANC now … We said Comrade Ramaphosa must become the president,” Magashule said.
When asked about the now deferred State of the Nation Address, he said Ramaphosa would deliver it.
“Remember it is not a constitutional requirement, but if SONA has to be there, it will be addressed by President Ramaphosa. There is no question about it,” Magashule said.
He said the decision to recall Zuma took place after the NEC rejected a plea by Zuma to remain in his office for a period of three to six months.
“In our earlier discussions between ourselves, President Zuma and President Ramaphosa there was an understanding that indeed it will be good for President Zuma to introduce President Ramaphosa to Brics leadership as well as SADC [Southern African Development Community] when it happens,” Magashule said of the talks.
A senior government official said word that Zuma could not be removed from office because he was the chair of the Southern African Decevelopment Cooperation (SADC) Troika and the chair of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa trade block) summit was false.
“It’s the country, not Zuma, that is chairing both SADC and Brics. Both are rotational. Whoever is the president will continue chairing. Brazil kicked out Dilma (Rouseff, its former president) and the new president took over and was welcomed at the Brics summit,” he said.
The official said Zimbabwe’s new president was welcomed by the SADC and the African Union when Robert Mugabe was ousted.
Magashule said while the top six thought Zuma’s request for time was “fair”, the NEC rejected the call.
He said the decision to recall Zuma was final.The decision was lauded by all alliance partners with Cosatu, who said if Zuma did not resign, the ANC should support an EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence against him.
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation called on Zuma as a “disciplined and loyal cadre of the ANC and out of respect for the constitution of the country” to tender his resignation to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.
“This long overdue resolution by the NEC of the African National Congress gives the possibility for the ANC as the governing party to urgently and immediately attend to the many challenges and negative developments which have arisen during the years of the presidency of Mr Zuma,” the statement read.DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the decision to recall Zuma was a mere internal ANC resolution, adding that the only way to remove Zuma from office was a vote of no confidence against him.
“It is parliament that elects and removes a president, not the ANC. Therefore, the EFF’s motion of no confidence, provisionally scheduled for February 22, must be treated as a priority and brought forward to within this week, in order for parliament to remove Jacob Zuma,” Maimane said.
The EFF has requested that their motion of no confidence initially scheduled for next week be brought forward. No final decision has been made on this.