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Opposition parties give ANC ultimatum on decision over Zuma’s future

President Jacob Zuma currently remains in office amid pressure for him to step down.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition parties have given the African National Congress (ANC) until Sunday evening to take a decision on President Jacob Zuma’s exit, otherwise they will expedite the motion of no confidence process in Parliament.

Zuma currently remains in office amid pressure for him to step down and the postponement of the ANC’s much anticipated national executive committee (NEC) meeting.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement clarifying the reasons for postponing the NEC meeting, which was due to take place on Wednesday.

He says the meeting was delayed after he began direct discussions with Zuma on the transition and matters relating to his position as the president of the republic.

Ramaphosa says it’s a challenging time for the country and that both he and Zuma are aware that the people want and deserve closure on the matter, saying a resolution will be taken in the “coming days”.

The chief whips of the Democratic Alliance (DA), John Steenhuisen, and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Narend Singh, say they want to proceed with the State of The Nation Address (Sona) by next Thursday (15 February), which means the ANC is running out of time to take a decision on President Zuma’s future.

WATCH: Ramphosa sets the record straight on talks with Zuma

Singh says Sona sets the tone for the budget, which is due to take place on 21 February.

“The leaders of the opposition parties will reconvene on Monday (12 February) to consider the way forward if we don’t hear anything by the weekend.”

Steenhuisen says they want to move forward.

“The latest that we can expect an announcement is Sunday evening (11 February). We must start planning a parliamentary week; Tuesday, election and Thursday, Sona.”

Both parties say the suggestion that an announcement will be made at the NEC meeting on 17 February is unacceptable and too far down the line.

ANC UNDER PRESSURE

Ramaphosa has assured the nation that the constructive process he’s embarked on will offer the greatest opportunity to resolve President Zuma’s position without creating division.

However, Ramaphosa and the ruling party are coming under increasing pressure to make an announcement on Zuma’s exit to ensure Sona proceeds next week.

Ramaphosa says he’s certain the outcome of the current process will address all concerns around Zuma’s position and unite the country.

As discussions continue, Ramaphosa says he will be able to report back to the organisation and the country in the “coming days”.

But Steenhuisen says time is running out.

“Unfortunately, the longer it drags on, then we can say to Ramaphosa; ‘you’ve pulled the trigger, surely you had a plan for how this was going to turn out.’”

Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete says she’s waiting for certainty from the executive about the way forward for Sona.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)