South Africa President Jacob Zuma given resignation order by his party
Scandal-tainted leader was given 48 hours by the ANC to respond to the exit order
President Jacob Zuma says he'll respond tomorrow to an exit order by the leaders of South Africa's ruling party, which had given him 48 hours to answer their demand that he resign, the ANC's secretary general told the state broadcaster Tuesday.
The African National Congress's exit order came after a 13-hour meeting of the party's national executive committee that ended earlier in the day.
Secretary general Ace Magashule and his deputy, Jessie Duarte, delivered the party's recall letter to Zuma at his official residence in Pretoria.
Since then, Zuma has not threatened to challenge the ANC's decision in court, as speculated by local media.
Mugashule told state broadcaster SABC on Tuesday that Zuma confirmed he will speak Wednesday.
If Zuma agrees to step down, then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will likely become president. However, if Zuma refuses to resign he will then face a vote of no confidence in parliament next week.
Disgraced by a series of corruption scandals, although he claims he has done no wrong, Zuma still retains support within the ruling party and the parliamentary vote could be tight.
Citing unidentified ANC sources, South African media say Zuma has asked for state security for his family, payment of legal fees and a few more months in office.
The impasse over the presidency has highlighted the disarray within a party that previously was the main movement against white minority rule and has led South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. The ANC once commanded moral stature as the party of Nelson Mandela, but corruption scandals linked to Zuma have cut into its popularity ahead of national elections in 2019.
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An opposition-backed motion of no confidence had been scheduled for Feb. 22, but its sponsors want the vote to be moved up to this week. Zuma has survived similar motions against him in the past, but many ruling party members now see him as a political liability and would likely vote against him.
Ramaphosa has held private talks with the president on a power transition, angering opposition parties who described the process as an affront to South African democracy. Last week, Ramaphosa promised a "speedy resolution" to the discussions, but the protracted standoff has raised questions about the political clout of the man poised to lead the country.
Magashule said the ANC is looking forward to an "amicable solution" and that "it's obvious" the party wants Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma.
South Africa's top court had ruled that Zuma violated the country's constitution following an investigation of multimillion-dollar upgrades to his private home that were paid for by the state.
A judicial commission is about to start a probe of alleged looting of state enterprises by Zuma's associates, and prosecutors are expected to announce soon whether they will reinstate corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago.
Zuma, 75, took office in 2009 and is in his second five-year term.
With files from Reuters