The ANC has officially announced that it has recalled President Jacob Zuma.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule made the announcement during a press conference at the ANC's headquarters in Luthuli House on Tuesday afternoon. His deputy, Jessie Duarte, and ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, were at his side.
Magashule said the the ANC was expecting Zuma to respond on Wednesday, although the president had not been given a deadline.
"The NEC was called to reflect on the current situation as it pertains to the position of the president. The NEC received a report from officials from their engagement with Zuma... The NEC noted the report of the officials that the president had agreed in principle to resign, and had proposed time frames extended from three to six months," Magashule said.
He said the NEC firmly believed the situation required them to instead act with urgency.
"The NEC received feedback from the delegation that the president was once more pleading that this time is too short... The NEC decided to recall its deployee... We agreed also that there should be continuing interaction between officials of the NEC and [Zuma]," Magashule said.
He said NEC members will over the weekend travel around the country to brief the party's structures on their decision.
We told them time and again that the blind and preposterous defence of Zuma will balloon his head and ego further. He's now defying the in-between highest decision making body of the organization. That's gross ill-discipline and certainly Msholozi has become Mgolozi, Mr. Goloza!— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) February 13, 2018
News24 earlier reported that Zuma has until the end of the day to resign. According to sources, he is "angry and emotional" and "speaking through the heart".
The ANC has called an emergency meeting of its caucus on Wednesday, while committee meetings have been pushed back from an early-morning start to 2pm. The regular meeting of the chief whips has also been moved up, from 10am to 8am.
In addition, opposition parties have extended the deadline to Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete for feedback on their demand that the motion of no confidence in Zuma, scheduled for February 22, be moved up on the calendar.
Just wondering how Aaaaace and Jessie Duarte (they being such famous Zumarites) feel about having to deliver the letter of recall to Zuma. Politics is such a merciless sport— Zakes Mda (@ZakesMda) February 13, 2018
"As we communicated this decision, we are giving [Zuma] time and space to respond. We haven't given him any deadline to respond," Magashule said.
"When we recall our deployee, we expect our deployee to do what the organisation wants him to do. The NEC believes this is an urgent matter, so it must be treated with urgency. As the ANC, we have not discussed any motion of no confidence."
Magashule said it was obvious that the ANC would want Ramaphosa to take the helm once Zuma leaves.
If Ace Magashule and Jessie Duarte are the ones that will tell us NEC decided Zuma must go, its gonna be a little awkward. For years they defended the president, for years they didn't understand why people wanted him to resign, for years they Said he is going nowhere. #ZumaExit— Clement Manyathela (@TheRealClementM) February 13, 2018
Describing their engagement with Zuma on Monday night during the NEC meeting, Magashule said Zuma was still awake.
"He's a very active president, very healthy, and our discussions were very cordial. We went there and we engaged him... He said: 'You know I'm a disciplined member of the ANC, I do believe the NEC has a right to take any decision,'" Magashule said.
"If Zuma wants to further engage us, we will do so. But the decision of the NEC is now final... We are not treating Zuma as a leader who is defiant. We will treat him with dignity. There is no need for us to humiliate him."