Jacob Zuma will receive the tap on the shoulder from the ANC party, and if he refuses to stand down, he is likely to lose a parliamentary vote of confidence.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has decided to remove Jacob Zuma as President, according to local reports.
“It took a brutal 13 hours, but the ANC’s national executive committee has decided to recall President Jacob Zuma,” the Times newspaper said citing unnamed sources.
The party’s powerful 107-member national executive committee met at a hotel outside of Pretoria, and finally agreed to oust him from his role as national president in the early hours of Tuesday.
While Zuma — who has been in power since 2009 — is under no constitutional obligation to obey the formal request to resign, a refusal would only lead to a parliamentary confidence vote on February 22, which would likely go against him.
The 75-year-old has resisted increasing pressure to quit since December, when Cyril Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ANC.
And while the ANC has not publicly confirmed the reports, Reuters was tipped off by a senior ANC source.
Corruption plagued presidency
Jacob Zuma’s reign as head of South Africa will be remembered for economic decline and alleged corruption.
In 2016, Zuma was found by SA’s highest court to have violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money that he used in an £11 million renovation to his private home — including the addition of a new swimming pool and ampitheatre.
His family’s ties to the wealthy India-born Gupta family also raised eyebrows, with deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas revealing a member of the family had offered to promote him to finance minister, and ANC MP Vytjie Mentor saying they offered her the key role of public enterprise minister at their mansion while Zuma was in attendance.
It was also reported that the Guptas demanded they be issued diplomatic passports as they frequently travelled abroad with Zuma on business trips “promoting South Africa”.
But Zuma’s alleged misconduct stretches all the way back to a 1999 arms deal, involving the government’s purchase of 30 billion rand (then $5 billion) worth of fighter jets, helicopters, submarines and warships.
He was sacked as deputy president in 2005 after his then financial adviser Schabir Shaik was found guilty of trying to solicit bribes from Thint, the local subsidiary of French arms firm Thales, on behalf of Zuma.
Zuma always denied the allegations, and in 2009 prosecutors dropped 700 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him, just weeks before elections which saw him become president.
Just last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled to reinstate the charges in relation to that arms deal.