14 February

All eyes were on the clock this morning in anticipation of Jacob Zuma’s speech scheduled for 10am. This was after ANC secretay-general Ace Magashule announced at the media briefing at Luthuli House yesterday (13 February) that the president has been given 24-hours to respond to ANC’s official recall on Zuma.

However, new developments came about at 22:26 last night when the president in question withdrew the plans for a 10am media briefing:

It was a quiet morning until around 13:50 when Zuma appeared live on SABC, stating that he had not in any way defied the ANC, instead the ANC has not given him any explanation for why they recalled him. ‘I need to be furnished as to what I have done,’ Zuma said. During this live interview, he also went on to say that his successor Cyril Ramaphosa would ‘regret removing [him]’.

One of the main things that can be taken away from the interview is that Zuma is only willing to resign after June. By his logic, if the ANC permits him to resign after June, it will be an indication of certainty on their side.

Ultimately, the SABC interview did not reveal anything new, but Jacob Zuma did say that he will issue a statement later today.

14:00, 13 February

The much-anticipated media briefing to present the outcomes of the special national executive committee meeting of this morning has just been concluded, where the ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule was in the firing line of journalists for almost an hour.

Magashule put up a solid front in terms of where they stand exactly as a party:

  • the ANC has not yet made a decision on sponsoring a vote of no confidence in parliament, but also
  • he confirmed the fact that they have recalled President Jacob Zuma
  • should a SONA happen this year, Cyril Ramaphosa will be the one delivering the SONA speech.

This is based on Magashule’s statement about how Ramaphosa will take over as president of the country when #ZumaExits, but there is no certainty on who will become deputy president.

To conclude in Ace Magashule’s words, ‘tomorrow the president will respond, I am not sure if you call that a deadline but I am sure he will respond tomorrow.’

And in case you missed it earlier…

Before 14:00

It was reported earlier this morning that the marathon ANC national executive committee meeting was concluded by the decision to recall President Jacob Zuma after his refusal to resign, making the build-up to this decision a turbulent one. Zuma had reportedly requested a three-month notice to ‘introduce Cyril Ramaphosa‘ to international organisations such as BRICS and the AU, which the ANC clearly refused.

Following this decision, a media briefing was scheduled for today, 13 February, at 12 noon, to be held at Chief Albert Luthuli House in Johannesburg. It has now been pushed back to 2pm.

While we wait for the clock to hit 14:00,  let’s briefly recap a few of the events that led us here:

  1. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) demanded a motion of no confidence today, threatening court action if no response had been issued by 1pm.
  2. National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete had also indicated a willingness to reschedule the EFF’s vote of no confidence from 22 February to this week. Daily Maverick speculates that this may have been a ploy to put pressure on Zuma.
  3. On Sunday, Cyril Ramaphosa promised that the NEC meeting on Monday night would bring about a sense of closure. His convoy was spotted leaving St Georges Hotel outside Pretoria with his deputy David Mabuza and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule to deliver the ‘minutes’ of the meeting to Jacob Zuma in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
  4. President Zuma reportedly refused to resign, and Ramaphosa returned to the NEC, who have reportedly issued an official letter to President Zuma recalling him.
  5. The ANC has called a press briefing for 2pm.

All we can do now is wait.

*the situation is developing rapidly