President Jacob Zuma has dug in his heels and it is now up to the ANC to remove him from office. According to all indications, Zuma told the ANC's top six during a meeting at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria on Sunday night that he will not step down voluntarily.
Zuma has officially gone rogue and thinks he can outwit the ANC, now led by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa.
EFF leader Julius Malema, who is still being fed information from the heart of the governing party, tweeted that Zuma told the top six he had done nothing wrong, had complied with all legal requirements in the Nkandla case and there was no reason for him to resign.
Other unconfirmed reports claim that Zuma arrived with a list of demands at the meeting, including that he and his family should not be prosecuted – a demand which the top six allegedly refused.
Whatever the details, it is now clear that Zuma can see no reason why he should step aside for Ramaphosa to take over the running of the state.
Zuma has played all his cards and is now at open war with Ramaphosa and his supporters.
Shortly after the meeting, the governing party's national working committee (NWC) was summoned to Luthuli House for an urgent meeting with the officials on Monday afternoon.
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Ramaphosa has a slight majority in the 20 member NWC and it is expected that firebrands like Ronald Lamola, Senzo Mchunu and Derek Hanekom would insist that the ANC pushes the red button on Zuma.
What options do the NWC have?- They can agree to let Zuma deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) for a final time, but this is a huge risk. The president can no longer be trusted and he may announce more unilateral policy decisions, like he did with free higher education in December. It will also send out a message that Zuma still controls the ANC.
- Only the national executive committee (NEC) can recall Zuma, who will then still have to resign as president. The NWC will have to decide whether it's feasible to convene an emergency NEC of 107 people before SONA. They have 90 hours to convene a meeting. Such an emergency NEC will only have one point on the agenda: the removal of Zuma.
- Even if the NEC decides to recall Zuma, he will still have to resign like former president Thabo Mbeki did in 2008. With Zuma in complete defiance mode, he may decide not to, leaving the ANC with only one option – removing him through Parliament.
- If the NWC decides Parliament is the best way to go, they may add their support to a request by the opposition parties to Speaker Baleka Mbete to postpone SONA. A motion of no confidence has been scheduled for February 22 and this may be the earliest opportunity for the ANC to eject Zuma.
- If the NWC decides to go for the Parliament option, they will have to count on the opposition parties and a large chunk of ANC MPs to support the motion. The EFF has already written to Mbete to request a secret vote, but she can refuse this request.
- Like the DA in Cape Town last week, the ANC may prefer to table its own motion of no confidence in the president to be debated on February 22.
If the party goes this way, it is likely that the budget speech, scheduled for February 21, will also be postponed. It is implausible that the finance minister will deliver his budget before SONA.
All eyes are now on Luthuli House where these 20 members of the NWC will meet Ramaphosa and his top five officials on Monday afternoon to decide what the short-term political future of the country holds:
1. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
2. Lindiwe Sisulu
3. Naledi Pandor
4. Jeff Radebe
5. Angie Motshekga
6. Derek Hanekom
7. Edna Molewa
8. Thoko Didiza
9. Nomvula Mokonyane
10. Nathi Mthethwa
11. Ronald Lamola
12. Tina Joemat-Pettersson
13. Dakota Legoete
14. Senzo Mchunu
15. Zizi Kodwa
16. Tony Yengeni
17. Bathabile Dlamini
18. Nomaindia Mfeketo
19. Barbara Creecy
20. Thandi Modise
The three leagues (ANCWL, ANCYL and the Veterans League) each has one representative on the NWC. www.news24.com