Zuma Calls Press Conference As Ruling ANC Moves To Force Him Out

Wu Hong POOL New  Reuters                       President Zuma at the 2017 BRICS Summit

The urgent meeting started at 2pm on Monday and ended at 3am on Tuesday.

The NEC meeting in a Pretoria hotel had all the ingredients for a showdown between Mr Zuma's supporters and those backing a swift transfer of power to Mr Ramaphosa. The venue was on lockdown in the hour that the two left to meet Zuma and returned.

Zuma is expected to respond to the recall on Wednesday, said Magashule.

ANC officials were not reachable Tuesday, but the party called a press conference for 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) at its headquarters in Johannesburg.

"The investigations and action simply can not end [with the Guptas] and must continue to all those implicated, including key ministers", Zakhele Mbehle from the Democratic Alliance said in a statement. The NEC, however, rejected his conditions.

But Zuma refused to budge.

South Africa's "Teflon President" Jacob Zuma has brushed off an extraordinary number of corruption allegations and scandals in his eight years in office.

"We couldn't allow him to stay on".

The stalemate has plunged South Africa - Africa's most developed economy - into uncertainty over who is running the country, with a series of public events cancelled last week including the annual State of the Nation address to parliament.

Zuma then chose to fight back-and outrageously said he wanted three months' notice and guarantees about his future.

Maimane said the opposition political parties were also requesting that the programming committee of parliament meet urgently so that a sitting for the motion for the removal of Zuma can be scheduled.

However, Zuma is said to have been defended by several members, including ANC Women's League Secretary-General Meokgo Matuba and North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. His office later said that "no official communication has been issued".

"He will finish what he started because he does not take orders beyond the Atlantic Ocean", she said.

Another asked: "What was the rush?"

Pressure has mounted for the past fortnight on the beleaguered Zuma to step down. Together with Mr Zuma's son Duduzane, the Guptas grew their influence over state-owned corporations such as the local electricity authority Eskom.

BUSINESS Leadership South Africa (BLSA) has welcomed as "courageous" the decision by the African National Congress (ANC) to recall President Jacob Zuma. Neither of these appeared to yet be in play for the ANC, although the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party has already submitted a motion for a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

That motion is set for February 22.

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