The ruling African National Congress party in South Africa has called an urgent “confidential” meeting on Wednesday, the News 24 channel reported, after President Jacob Zuma defied the party’s ultimatum to resign as the head of state within 48 hours.
ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule delivered Zuma’s recall letter to the presidential guesthouse on Tuesday morning. The call to ask Zuma to step down came after an eight-hour meeting of the party’s top leadership, state broadcaster South African Broadcasting Corporation reported. “Zuma is very emotional,” News 24 quoted an official, who was present at the meeting between the ANC leadership and the president, as saying. “He is speaking through the heart now. He is angry.”
Zuma has been accused, among other things, of using government money to build a luxurious private home. Under his rule, economic growth slowed down and unemployment reached record low levels. The National Executive Committee met in Irene outside Pretoria and decided it would call for a motion of no-confidence against Zuma if he refused to step down.
While Zuma continues to deny any wrongdoing, he has been facing a major challenge ever since his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, was elected in December 2017 to succeed him as the leader of the African National Congress. The leader of the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, is considered the most powerful person in the country.
Soon after Ramaphosa took over, analysts pointed out he was likely to recall Zuma from presidency.