President Jacob Zuma, quipped as the proverbial cat with nine lives, is set not to survive the ninth round as Parliament is set to seal his fate today when it debates a no-confidence motion vote that will see him leave office.
Legislators from all political parties, including the ruling African National Congress (ANC), are in agreement that President Zuma must go so that they elect a new president by tomorrow. President Zuma is due to complete his second term next year.
Although President Zuma had been given until midnight yesterday to tender his resignation, at the time of going to print, he had not done so, an act many South African analysts and politicians described as defiant and arrogant.
Notwithstanding, it was quite evident that the ANC would not renege on the decision that culminated in the National Executive Committee, the highest decision-making body of the ANC, making the bold decision on Tuesday to recall President Zuma in order to break the impasse that threatened the country’s governance and stability.
The 107-member NEC on Monday met for 13 hours in Pretoria, and decided in the early hours of Tuesday to “recall” President Zuma from his post. The recall was announced by his ally and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule at Luthuli House, the party’s headquarters.
Making the announcement after a prolonged power struggle between president Zuma and Ramaphosa, Magashule said the NEC had arrived at a collective decision to recall its embattled “deployee”.
According to an AFP report, when Ramaphosa and Magashule told president Zuma that the NEC was unanimous in its decision for him to step down, he threatened to fight back if the ANC throws him under the bus.
“He told them if the ANC issued a statement on its decision to recall him, he will retaliate.”
However, Magashule told reporters that president Zuma had “agreed in principle to resign and had proposed time frames extending from three to six months,” but this was turned down.
In an exclusive interview with the SABC yesterday, president Zuma insisted that he had done nothing wrong, and “accused” the ANC of not providing him with reasons why he should step down as head of state of the country.
“I need to be furnished on what I have done. Unfortunately, no one has been able to provide what is it that I have done. I said to them, if I have done something wrong, there are processes in the ANC,” he said during the interview at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
President Zuma’s departure will pave way for South African parliamentarians to elect Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the ANC president the next head of state of Africa’s biggest economy.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly programming committee agreed to a preliminary schedule over the next seven days that will include a motion of no confidence, a swearing in of a new president, and the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The chief whips of the various parties met yesterday afternoon to discuss Parliament’s programme, following the ANC’s decision to support and amend an EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence in President Zuma.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete confirmed yesterday that the motion’s date had been moved up to today at 14:00. The parties agreed on the rest of its programme, pending the availability of Chief Justice Mogoeng to oversee a prospective election of a new president.
Also, the joint programming committee, which includes the National Council of Provinces, will ratify the decision today, so that SONA, a joint sitting, can go ahead tomorrow. — Herald Reporter/News24