The African National Congress (ANC) has decided to sack Jacob Zuma as President of South Africa, a senior official of the party said on Monday.
The decision was said to have been reached by the ruling party’s national executive after a marathon meeting held to determine Zuma’s fate.
The ANC reportedly held 13 hours of tense deliberations and one face-to-face meeting between Zuma and his presumed successor, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Zuma has been living on borrowed time since Ramaphosa, a union leader once tipped as Mandela’s pick to take over the reins, was elected as head of the 106-year-old ANC in December, narrowly defeating Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
In spite of the damning decision to order Zuma’s “recall” – ANC-speak for ‘remove from office’ – domestic media have speculated that the 75-year-old might yet defy the party’s wishes, forcing it into the indignity of having to unseat him in parliament.
Shortly before midnight, the SABC state broadcaster said Zuma had been told in person by Ramaphosa that he had 48 hours to resign.
A senior party source later told Reuters Zuma had made clear that he was going nowhere.
“Ramaphosa went to speak with him,” the source was quoted as saying, adding that when Ramaphosa returned to the ANC meeting in a Pretoria hotel, the discussions were tense and difficult.
“We decided to recall Zuma. He hasn’t been told yet.”
The ANC said it would hold a media briefing to reveal the results of the meeting.
South Africa’s economy has stagnated under Zuma’s nine-year tenure, with banks and mining firms reluctant to invest because of policy uncertainty and rampant corruption.