JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, formally submitted on Tuesday a request for Jacob Zuma’s to be recalled from his duties as president, thus rejecting the scandal-embroiled incumbent’s offer to delay his dismissal by a period of three to six months.
Zuma, 75, has rejected calls to stand down since he lost his position as party leader to Cyril Ramaphosa in December, but his almost 10-year stint in office has been stained by a slew of high-level corruption allegations that have left him isolated from the ANC’s national executive committee, which has been negotiating the president’s removal for weeks.
“We are determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urge economic recovery,” ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told a press conference at the party headquarters in Johannesburg. “In its wisdom, the NEC decided as follows: to recall its deployee, Comrade Jacob Zuma.”
Magashule said Zuma had refused to accede to a demand that he shorten his offer to resign voluntarily within three to six months, and so, after what he described as exhaustive talks, the NEC opted to speed-up proceedings to remove the president in order to replace him with Ramaphosa.
“The decisions of the ANC provide, we believe, certainty to the people of South Africa at a time when the economic and social challenges facing the country require an urgent and resolute response by all sections of society,” Magashule added.
The decision taken was final and Zuma, who is expected to respond on Wednesday, would be treated with dignity, Magashule added.
Should Zuma refuse to leave office, then he would face a confidence vote in South Africa’s parliament, which he would likely lose.