​ANC party warns Zuma: Resign or we will vote you out

“If the President resigns the cabinet stays, deputy president takes over and we continue." (David Harrison/M&G)

“If the President resigns the cabinet stays, deputy president takes over and we continue." (David Harrison/M&G)

The ANC will remove President Jacob Zuma from office by a vote of no confidence in parliament on Thursday if he does not resign by the end of Wednesday, the party’s caucus has decided.

“We have asked the chief whip to proceed with a motion of no confidence tomorrow, so that President Zuma is then removed and we can proceed to elect president Ramaphosa president of the republic,” the ANC’s treasurer general Paul Mashatile said in parliament, after officially informing the caucus of the national executive committee decision to recall Zuma.

National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete had on Wednesday issued a statement agreeing to bring forward the Economic Freedom Fighters’ motion of no confidence in Zuma to 2pm on Thursday afternoon, and said voting would take place by open ballot.

“Ms Mbete said in her letter that she believed that this decision strengthens Parliament’s efficiency in its oversight of the Executive,” parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

The ANC’s patience with Zuma has run out, Mashatile said, adding that the party cannot wait for him to resign any longer.

“It’s very clear that for us as leadership of the ANC, we can no longer wait beyond today. We don’t want to keep South Africa waiting, if President Zuma will at some point respond, he will respond, but we can’t continue waiting. The decision has been taken and it must be implemented.”

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the ANC would only make amendments to the Economic Freedom Fighters motion, as they are not able to put forward their own motion.

“Ideally [presenting our motion] is what we would have loved. But it is not possible with a motion that is there in the system,” Mthembu said.

The EFF withdrew its urgent court bid to force Mbete to bring forward their motion of no confidence in Zuma after their meeting with the ANC last night. Mthembu said the ANC would now only seek to make amendments to the EFF motion.

“As ANC we will put our own reasoning arising from the 54th conference also arising from the discussions that have ensued in the NEC for over 13 hours. We will effect that into the amendments,” Mthembu said.

The ANC hopes to elect Ramaphosa as head of state tomorrow, “depending on the availability of the chief justice,” Mthembu said, and continue with the state of the nation address on Friday.

The no confidence motion would also collapse the cabinet, Mashatile said.

“If the President resigns the cabinet stays, deputy president takes over and we continue. However, if he doesn’t resign and he is recalled, then the whole cabinet goes. In that case, the speaker would be acting president until a new president is elected.”

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