In Summary
  • South African broadcaster SABC said the party had given President Jacob Zuma 48 hours to resign.
  • If Zuma refuses to step down the party committee could "recall" the head of state, essentially forcing him to step down, although he would be under no constitutional obligation to obey.
  • South African opposition parties on Monday called for early elections as the ANC's leadership battle ground on.

PRETORIA

South Africa's ruling ANC party was locked in closed-door discussions on Monday night, wrangling over the fate of Jacob Zuma after the scandal-tainted president refused to resign.

The party's powerful 107-member national executive committee (NEC) met at a hotel outside Pretoria, but gave no official update on Zuma's fate after several hours.

ULTIMATUM

Citing unnamed sources the public broadcaster SABC reported that the party had given Zuma 48 hours to resign.

"The SABC believes the ANC has given President Zuma 48 hours to resign," said the state broadcaster.

If Zuma refuses to step down the party committee could "recall" the head of state, essentially forcing him to step down, although he would be under no constitutional obligation to obey.

He would then likely be ousted via a parliamentary vote of no-confidence within days.

The Business Day reported that Zuma was seeking a three-month "notice" period, after which he would step aside unconditionally.

TALKS

Local media said African National Congress chief Cyril Ramaphosa, left the meeting for about an hour to meet Zuma at his official residence. Ramaphosa's motorcade was seen returning to the party meeting at midnight.

Ramaphosa, the de-facto president-in-waiting, has been in negotiations with Zuma who rejected a request from party leaders to step down more than a week ago.

The stalemate has plunged South Africa into political uncertainty over who is running the country, with a series of public events cancelled including last Thursday's State of the Nation address to parliament.

"We know you want this matter to be finalised," Ramaphosa, 65, told a party rally in Cape Town on Sunday to rapturous cheering.

"We know you want closure... Because our people want this matter to be finalised, the NEC will be doing precisely that."

SPLIT?

South African opposition parties on Monday called for early elections as the ANC's leadership battle ground on.

"We must proceed to the dissolution of parliament... subsequent to that, we move on to an early election," Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters, speaking alongside several opposition parties.

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