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South Africans await ANC NEC’s decision on Zuma removal

The party’s heavyweights are locked in a meeting behind closed doors at the Saint George’s Hotel in Pretoria on Monday afternoon.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - As the African National Congress’ national executive committee meeting enters its second hour, South Africans are waiting to hear what the party’s highest decision-making body will decide around President Jacob Zuma’s political future.

The party’s heavyweights are locked in a meeting behind closed doors at the Saint George’s Hotel in Pretoria on Monday afternoon.

On Sunday, party president Cyril Ramaphosa promised that this meeting would finalise the issue of President Zuma’s removal.

If the NEC meeting is being briefed on talks between Ramaphosa and President Zuma and to announce that the president has agreed to go, then this meeting is likely to wrap up shortly.

But if Ramaphosa is explaining to the NEC that Zuma is refusing to resign or has agreed to do so later, NEC members may debate the matter until a decision is reached.

We now know the decision that should have been reached in last week’s cancelled NEC meeting would have been to recall the president.

The ANC is racing against time to ensure it deals with the issue internally before opposition parties escalate it to Parliament by way of a motion of no confidence in President Zuma.

A briefing by the NEC is expected. Last week the party’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte promised that the party would communicate its decision on Zuma immediately.

The ANC wouldn’t want to delay this any further, given the plans opposition parties have up their sleeves.

They want Parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections held before a new president of the country is elected.

NO DECISION FROM MBETE YET

Parliament says that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has yet to respond to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) request for its motion of no confidence to be brought forward from later this month.

The red berets want the motion debated and voted on, on Tuesday, instead of 22 February.

The motion of no confidence was one of the items on the agenda at a meeting of opposition parties on Monday afternoon.

Party leaders are briefing journalists on the outcome of their meeting.

Most opposition parties, except for the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African People’s Convention, had gathered behind closed doors.

On the agenda, the motion of no confidence, the election of a new President of the Republic and the possibility of scrapping the State of the Nation Address (Sona), which was postponed indefinitely last week.

Earlier, Eyewitness News asked Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapho about the possibility of Sona not going ahead

He said: "It is a flagship programme of Parliament, even though it is not (required) by the Constitution or the Rules (of Parliament.)"

Mothapho says Mbete has yet to respond to the EFF’s request for its no-confidence motion to be debated and voted on, on Tuesday.