05/02/2018 06:08 SAST | Updated 05/02/2018 06:08 SAST

Urgent NWC Meeting Called After Zuma's Refusal To Resign

Zuma reportedly refused to step down as president on Sunday night, ahead of Thursday's state of the nation address.

President Jacob Zuma.
Mark Schiefelbein/ Pool/ Reuters
President Jacob Zuma.

The ANC's national working committee (NWC) is set to convene an urgent meeting, following talks between President Jacob Zuma and the ANC's top six officials about Zuma's possible removal from office on Sunday night, News24 reported. This is reportedly an indication that Zuma refused to resign during Sunday's meeting, which ended at 10pm.

The 20-member committee will reportedly meet on Monday afternoon for a special meeting. The NWC was only scheduled to meet again next Monday.

On Sunday night, EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted:

The Sunday Times reported that Sunday's meeting was led by ANC deputy president David Mabuza, and was held at Zuma's official residence in Pretoria, Mahlamba Ndlopfu. The meeting was to discuss whether Zuma should deliver the state of the nation address this Thursday. Insiders reportedly said the top six were hoping to reach agreement with Zuma on the date of his departure from office.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly recused himself from the meeting after being requested to do so, to avoid any allegations of conflict of interest, as he is expected to take over from Zuma when he leaves office.

ANC acting national communications manager Khusela Diko told the Sunday Times that she could not confirm whether the talks would include Zuma's resignation, but said that the NWC would discuss the upcoming motion of no confidence in Zuma, tabled by the EFF in Parliament, and the impeachment process.

Former Gauteng premier and former Cope leader Mbhazima Shilow tweeted that this would be the second time in Zuma's career that he had refused to resign.

Former ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza tweeted that this week would be critical for the ANC.

On Sunday morning, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe told a congregation at a Katlehong church that the meeting was to ensure stability in the country.

"We want to ensure that there is stability in the country and stability in the ANC. That is why tonight we are meeting with President Zuma," said Mantashe, according to News24.

Mantashe asked for prayers for the ANC, saying that some people wanted to see violence erupt over the meeting. He reportedly said the meeting was not intended to humiliate Zuma.

"We are not going to that meeting to humiliate President Zuma or to rough handle him. We are going to have a discussion with him... what is in the best interest of the ANC, the country and the economy... We are asking for you to pray for us, so that there is peace in that meeting."

A "Hands Off Zuma" campaign, convened by the Black First Land First movement, plans to protest outside Luthuli House on Monday against Zuma's removal, according to Eyewitness News (EWN). The group reportedly said the problem was not Zuma, but "white monopoly capital", and said they would not vote for the ANC in 2019 if Zuma goes.

A counter protest has reportedly been planned by a group of ANC members calling themselves "Defend Luthuli House," EWN reported. The group's convener, Mkhululi White reportedly said Zuma's removal is a matter of urgency.

"The march (by "Hands Off Zuma") to Luthuli House is misdirected and misguided and instead of such they should lobby political parties in parliament to oppose the removal," he reportedly said.