'Deadline for Jacob Zuma to leave office is today'

Paul Mashatile made this announcement after Parliament’s ANC caucus met this morning to discuss the NEC’s decision to recall Zuma.

FILE: Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC) has lost patience with a defiant President Jacob Zuma and its MPs will vote with opposition parties in a motion of no confidence against him at Parliament on Thursday.

Speaking after addressing ANC MPs at their caucus meeting at Parliament, party treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told journalists that South Africans could not be expected to wait any longer for Zuma to resign.

"It is very clear that for us as the 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."

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu says that depending on the availability of the Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, Cyril Ramaphosa could also be elected as the country’s new president at the same sitting tomorrow.

WATCH: President Jacob Zuma briefs the nation after ANC NEC called him

Mthembu says the EFF refused to withdraw its own motion of no confidence so that the ANC could bring its own motion, which he says would have been ideal.

Instead, Mthembu says the ANC will move an amendment to the EFF’s motion from the floor – but he says this will not alter the thrust of the motion.

"We have approached them because ideally, it would have been nice for them to withdraw but they sadly refused to withdraw their motion and that's why were are sitting with the next available option to the ANC, which is to amend that motion but not the substance."

Section 102 of the Constitution allows for a simple majority – 201 of 400 MPs – to pass a motion of no confidence in the President, in which case he, his deputy, all Cabinet ministers and their deputies must resign. It provides for the Speaker to then act as president for up to 30 days until a new president is elected, but the ANC wants Ramaphosa installed as soon as possible.

Once elected, Ramaphosa will be in a position to appoint a new Cabinet.

If Zuma resigns before the motion of confidence is passed, then it will fall away and Ramaphosa will become acting president, with all the powers and functions the position holds - including appointing Cabinet ministers.

Mthembu has given the assurance that the Budget will go ahead as planned next Wednesday. The question now is whether Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will still be the person to deliver it.

Meanwhile, the party has stated that Zuma has not asked for amnesty or for his legal fees to be paid.

The rand has strengthened to two-and-a-half year highs off the back of that confirmed deadline and the announcement about the motion of no confidence.

It’s currently trading at around 11.80 to the dollar.