The news of President Jacob Zuma’s recall by the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) has received mixed-reviews from opposition political parties and civil society.
ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule confirmed on Tuesday at a media briefing that the party took the decision on Monday night and that an official letter of recall had been delivered to Zuma.
Magashule said the decision was taken in the interest of the country and that Zuma is expected to respond by Wednesday.
He said the State of the National Address (SONA) will be delivered by ANC President Cyril Ramaposa.
The ANC’s alliance partners have welcomed the decision.
The SACP said this move signalled the first step towards resolving the issues facing the party.
“The decision should pave the way to a deep-going, decisive self-correction and greater ANC and Alliance unity to revitalise democratic support from lost ground towards greater heights,” said the SACP in a statement.
Zuma’s refusal to step-down so far, as angered opposition political parties.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said only Parliament can “recall” Zuma, because the President could simply choose to ignore the decision taken by the NEC.
“This recall is an internal ANC resolution, and nothing more. It has no effect on Jacob Zuma’s current status as President of the Republic, and can be simply ignored by Zuma. Unless he tenders his resignation, this recall is not worth the paper it is printed on,” said Maimane.
Maimane said the only action that could ensure that Zuma is removed, is through a vote of no confidence in Parliament.
“The only way to remove Jacob Zuma as President of our country is for Parliament to do so through a motion of no confidence. It is Parliament that elects and removes a President, not the ANC,” he said.
The EFF has written to National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete asking that the debate on Zuma’s fitness to hold office should be moved forward to this week – the original date was set for February 22. It’s not clear at this stage whether Mbete will agree.
Opposition political parties have also called for the National Assembly to be dissolved and for fresh elections to be held.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has also welcomed the ANC’s decision to recall Zuma, but the organisation has raised concern about the ANC not setting a deadline for him to resign.
“We are a country in limbo due to Zuma’s continued selfish behaviour. Personal gain has always been his motive and, once again, his conduct is no exception. He has defied everybody to date, including his party, Parliament and the courts.”