After refusing point blank to step down from his position as head of state, Zuma has been recalled by his party.
The decision to axe Zuma comes after he was approached and first asked to resign by the top six officials in the ANC last week Sunday evening.
During that meeting, Zuma is understood to have refused to resign, citing the ANC losing the ANC elections and its grip on the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as “Zulus would be enraged”.
Zuma is also said to have stated he had done nothing wrong and was ready to deliver the state-of-the-nation address on Thursday in Cape Town. He had also summoned Cabinet ministers to meet ahead of the Sona on Tuesday.
On Monday night, the 107 member strong NEC held another meeting that lasted eight hours and ended in the early morning of Tuesday. During that meeting, the ANC resolved to give Zuma a 48-hour notice to willingly resign or face being axed by the party through a recall as former president Thabo Mbeki was.
Insiders present at the meeting last night said Zuma remained defiant, and “was very arrogant”. He told them he was not going anywhere, as he did nothing wrong, an unnamed ANC committee member told the Mail & Guardian.
“He told them if the ANC issued a statement on its decision to recall him, he will retaliate.”
During a press conference held at Luthuli House, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule told the media that the ANC was collectively of the understanding that the leader of the party must be the head of state.
Magashule said that while Zuma pleaded for more time during this transition period, the ANC refused, stating that he must leave his position soon. In addition, the ANC says the talks between Zuma and the party have been cordial and that Zuma will respond to the request for his recall by tomorrow.
According to EFF leader Julius Malema, Zuma had previously told party leaders he had performed his duties and done everything he was requested to do as state president.
“He said he did everything he was told to do – paid back the money [for Nkandla security upgrades] … and that if they came to a conclusion that he is a problem … then they should fire him.”
National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete had scheduled a motion of no confidence debate, sought by the EFF, for February 22. The state-of-the-nation address has been postponed as the ANC sought to conclude Zuma’s presidency.
Various opposition parties had also voiced their intent to either boycott Sona or seek legal action against Zuma delivering the speech.