President Jacob ​Zuma agrees to resign – reports

After refusing to vacate his office, President Jacob Zuma has reportedly agreed to resign as head of state, just hours after meeting ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at a “constructive meeting” in Cape Town.

Zuma initially refused to resign after meeting with the ANC’s top six officials on Monday, and after the party convened a special national working committee (NWC) meeting on Tuesday, a decision on his fate was expected to be made on Wednesday.

TimesLive reported that Zuma had bowed to pressure and made a last minute deal with Ramaphosa after the entire NWC agreed that he should resign.

Ramaphosa told NWC members that “he had tried to his best” in his engagements with Zuma and asked “anyone with a direct line to him to talk to him” – according to members of the committee who attended the meeting.

ANC deputy president David Mabuza was angry during the NWC meeting, said a committee member, who spoke to the Mail & Guardian on condition of anonymity.

“Mabuza was complaining that the president humiliated them. Mabuza said Zuma is a deployee, he must be recalled,” the committee member said.

Ramaphosa’s meeting with Zuma on Tuesday evening led to the the ANC president postponing the national executive committee meeting until February 17.

These developments come just days before the motion of no confidence in Zuma will be tabled in Parliament by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

News of Zuma’s refusal to resign and behind the scenes negotiations were marred by fake announcements making the rounds on social media. A WhatsApp message began to circulate on Tuesday night, claiming Zuma would be delivering his resignation on SABC at 7pm. This was denied by the ANC.

Another erroneous media alert claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin was en route to South Africa for an official state visit with Zuma was quickly dismissed as false.

The presidency denied its veracity, saying no advertisements of the official visit were posted on its website.

Putin is believed to support Zuma and hold a vested interest in South Africa’s planned nuclear energy plant.

Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

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