Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

President Jacob Zuma has dug in his heels, telling the ANC to do as it pleases after it took a decision early on Tuesday morning to recall him.

The ball now shifts to Parliament, with the ANC having to navigate the complexity of bringing its own motion of no confidence in Zuma.

Opposition parties have already applied pressure to have Zuma removed through a motion brought by them. They have also indicated they would move to dissolve Parliament.

According to sources, the NEC had “unanimously decided” to recall Zuma, but indications early on Tuesday morning when the meeting ended was that the state president was digging in his heels.

“There is no way he can govern after the NEC has taken such a decision,” said one source, adding that Zuma had not indicated he would resign. 

Another said the ANC would now have to bring its own motion of no confidence in Zuma in Parliament.

The disturbing development emerged after a near 13-hour ANC NEC meeting held on Monday.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa had earlier left the NEC meeting to inform Zuma that he had been fired.

Business Day understands that NEC members remained at St George's Hotel in Irene, awaiting a report back from Ramaphosa.

Zuma’s refusal to resign prompted further debate on the matter. Sources said the NEC had agreed to a ANC-sponsored motion of no confidence in Zuma.  

The ANC is hoping to have the matter finalised swiftly in order to have Ramaphosa deliver the state of the nation address on Monday next week before the budget on Wednesday.

Business Day has now confirmed that Zuma had earlier requested a three-month "notice period", after which he would resign unconditionally.

Business Day understands this proposal was put to the ANC’s NEC on Monday, as it discussed Zuma’s recall from office. This proposal was rejected by the NEC.

It is understood Zuma has told Ramaphosa he will use the three months to “introduce him” to international bodies such as the African Union, the United Nations and the Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA block of countries.

Sources sceptical of his motives have indicated that he wants to continue chairing the cabinet to ensure that deals favourable to his family and friends are seen through, including the nuclear deal.

Ramaphosa assured the nation on Sunday that the Zuma matter would be “finalised” on Monday by the NEC on Monday, but no official communication was forthcoming from the party late on Monday.

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