President Jacob Zuma had asked for a three to six month period to tender his resignation, but the ANC National Executive Committee said it could not wait that long, and therefore decided to recall him, said ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.
Magashule was briefing journalists on the outcomes of the special meeting of the NEC on Monday, where Zuma’s fate was discussed.
He said that during discussions with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa last week, Zuma had “had agreed in principle to resign and proposed time frames extending from three to six months”.
But the NEC had decided that the country is going through a period of “uncertainty and anxiety” and the matter of Zuma’s exit had to be dealt with urgently in the interests of “unity, renewal and hope”.
The NEC sent a delegation, including deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, to Zuma’s house on Monday night to communicate that the NEC could not wait 3 to 6 months for him to tender his resignation.
Zuma then, Magashule said, began “pleading that this time is too short”.
Despite earlier reports that Zuma has been given 24 to 48 hours to respond to the NEC decision, the NEC has not yet set any deadline.
“We haven’t given him any deadline to respond,” Magashule said.
Both Magashule and Duarte, who are leading the briefing on the NEC outcomes, have been noted Zuma supporters.
Despite the lack of deadline, Magashule said that it was important Zuma’s exit is resolved with urgency.
The reason for the recall, he said, was partly because the party had initially attempted to resolve the matter amicably. But the ANC also wants Ramaphosa to take over.
“It obvious we want President Cyril Ramaphosa to come in as the president,” he said.