The African National Congress (ANC) has announced that the National Executive Committee (NEC) has decided to recall President Jacob Zuma from Office.
The governing party’s Secretary General Ace Magashule made the official announcement a short while ago.
“The NEC decided to recall its deployee comrade President Jacob Zuma in accordance with rule 188.8.131.52 of the ANC constitution which affords the NEC the authority to recall its deployees. We agreed that there should be continuing discussions between the ANC officials and President Zuma,” Magashule said.
He said the President has been informed of the decision.
The ANC’s NEC, the highest decision making body between party conferences, deliberated for more than 13 hours on Monday over President’s Zuma’s fate, announcing their decision to remove him from office following weeks of speculation regarding the president’s future.
The announcement followed a dramatic week in which parliament announced the postponement of the State of the Nation Address that was scheduled for last Thursday. This, while the leadership of the ANC held what was described as leadership transition talks with President Zuma.
On Tuesday, Magashule said the decision to recall 75-year-old President Zuma was taken in order to “provide certainty” to the people of South Africa.
“The decisions of the ANC provide certainty to the people of South Africa at the time when the economic and social challenges that are facing the country require a response by all sections of society,” said Magashule.
He did not provide details on whether the President has agreed to resign.
He said the decision would be communicated to all structures of the ANC, as well as the party’s parliamentary caucus.
The Presidency has not yet communicated on the issue and the President himself has not indicated whether he would accede to the party’s directive and resign.
In the event the President resigns, he would be expected to make an announcement to the nation and submit his resignation to the speaker of the National Assembly, which elected him.
The Constitution states that when a vacancy occurs in the Office of President, the Deputy President, a Minister designated by the other members of the Cabinet or a Speaker can act as President for a period of 30 days until the National Assembly elects a new president.
An Acting President has the responsibilities, powers and functions of the President. Before assuming the responsibilities, powers and functions of the President, the Acting President must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution.
The constitution also provides that in an event of a resignation or end of term, Presidents also retain their benefits and annual salaries for life. This would apply to President Zuma if and when he resigns.
The National Assembly can also pass a motion of no confidence in the President through a simple majority. In such an event, the President must then resign.