NEWS
12/02/2018 06:01 SAST | Updated 12/02/2018 06:21 SAST

Zuma: Deadlock To Be Broken Today

President Jacob Zuma is expected to resign during an NEC meeting on Monday, as the ANC faces mounting pressure to finalise his exit from office.

President Jacob Zuma leaves Tuynhuys, the office of the Presidency at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, February 7, 2018.
Sumaya Hisham / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma leaves Tuynhuys, the office of the Presidency at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, February 7, 2018.

Monday is D-Day for President Jacob Zuma, will all indicators suggesting he will either be told he has to resign, or will resign himself. Insiders and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa himself have reportedly said the drawn-out speculation about Zuma's exit from the Union Buildings will end on Monday, and the party faces protest action as well as mounting pressure from opposition parties in Parliament if the matter is not settled.

City Press reported that Ramaphosa is also under mounting pressure from within the party, as senior leaders grow impatient with the protracted nature of the talks. Ramaphosa is said to want to avoid an ugly and divisive end to the matter, and is handling it sensitively, while some ANC leaders want a quick exit for Zuma.

Opposition leaders will reportedly meet on Monday afternoon to decide on the way forward if Zuma is not out of office by then.

Sources told Business Day that Zuma was expected to announce his resignation on Monday. The meeting is reportedly expected to take place from 2pm at the St George Hotel in Pretoria.

There are two possible outcomes of the meeting, according to high-ranking sources who spoke to Business Day.

First, the party's leadership could brief the NEC on an agreement between Ramaphosa and Zuma, or there could be a possible debate and recall of Zuma, if it emerges that they have not reached an agreement.

"He [Zuma] has agreed to resign. The meeting tomorrow [Monday] is to confirm Cyril and his deputy," a source reportedly told Business Day.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa addressed the issue while speaking at an event commemorating Nelson Mandela's release from prison in Cape Town. According to Eyewitness News, he said, "We know you want closure on this matter. Comrades, as you want closure, we will be doing so by keeping our eyes on what is in the interest of all our people and how we continue to unite the nation."

"As you have all heard, the national executive committee of the African National Congress will be meeting tomorrow to discuss this very matter. Because our people want this matter to be finalised, the national executive committee will be doing precisely that."

Ramaphosa said there was a "new mood" in the country and that the nation should draw on lessons from Mandela's life to ensure that the country moved forward.

ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told a church congregation in Gugulethu near Cape Town on Sunday that Zuma's exit was being finalised.

According to News24, he said, "President Zuma will go. ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is the only president, so don't be confused. President Zuma has finished his job... Don't worry. Don't worry. There are talks, and we will sort these things out."

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told the SABC on Sunday that there was "agreement on the end game" and that what was now being discussed was the "timing and process that should be followed".

There have been several reports suggesting that Zuma wants his legal fees to be paid by the state should he leave office.

"If Zuma wants maximum security, he can take up residence at a state-funded prison." James Selfe, DA

The Sunday Times reported that the prospect of a plea bargain is on the table — if Zuma turns on the Guptas and their networks and confesses to any criminal acts, he could be granted immunity from prosecution or a reduced sentence in the state capture investigation. This would not, however, be applicable to his fraud and corruption charges related to the arms deal.

Reportedly, Ramaphosa is aware that the deal would not have legal standing unless the NPA was involved and that it would require full disclosure by Zuma. Zuma reportedly wants assurance that the state will pay for any legal fees he might incur after stepping down, but Ramaphosa is reportedly reluctant to agree to this.

The ANC faces protests if Zuma is not gone by Monday, as well as the promise of legal action if a plea bargain deal is struck.

On Sunday, a group calling themselves concerned members of the tripartite alliance in Gauteng promised to rally protests if Zuma does not go, according to the SABC.

The group has called for a national shutdown on Monday to put pressure on the ANC to deal with Zuma. The ANC reportedly said the group is not an official structure of the party.

The South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) also joined the calls for Zuma to go last week, according to TimesLive. The SACP also called for Ramaphosa to reject any amnesty talks with Zuma.

The DA has meanwhile promised legal action should it emerge that an amnesty deal was struck with Zuma, as it would be illegal to do so.

On Sunday, DA federal chairperson James Selfe said that a deal where Zuma's legal fees would be taken care of was "unthinkable", News24 reported.

"The Spy Tapes case alone is estimated to have cost R30-million or more in legal fees. It is unthinkable that Zuma would demand a continuation of his security detail and state-funded legal fees. If Zuma wants maximum security, he can take up residence at a state-funded prison." He reportedly said that it would be a "damning indictment" on Ramaphosa if this deal was reached, and an "insult to the people of South Africa".

On Sunday, Ramaphosa reportedly said that the party would now focus on reunification.

According to EWN, he said, "As we emerge from a period of difficulty, a period of disunity and discord, this Nelson Mandela centenary year offers us what I would call a new beginning."