“The allegations are completely baseless”, the presidency said in a statement. Critics questioned the legality of Mbeki’s removal; the South African constitution only says parliament can remove the president through impeachment or a motion of no confidence.
On Tuesday, the ANC in Parliament Tweeted it was waiting for the word from it’s National Executive Committee (NEC), set to meet on Wednesday evening, on the way forward. Less than two decades after the end of apartheid, onlookers feared the move would plunge South Africa into chaos. “I’m happy that this great institution [Parliament] has been spared the the awful indignity of what a farce a Zuma SONA would have been”, Steenhuisen said.
Earlier this week, he reportedly told ANC leaders he believed that he still had the support of the party, adding that he had been challenged before and would again survive a potential attempt to have him removed.
South Africa’s political opposition has said Zuma is a discredited figure who shouldn’t deliver the speech on Thursday, and that the occasion should be postponed until the ANC party sorts out its internal conflict.
The ANC said it respected the right of citizens to protest in a disciplined and peaceful manner.
His presidential term does not expire until mid-2019, but the ANC chose Mr. Ramaphosa to replace Mr. Zuma as party leader in December despite Mr. Zuma’s efforts to engineer a victory by his preferred candidate. But he faces a new confidence-vote in parliament against his leadership on February 22 filed by the opposition far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF).
Political space for a meeting of the ANC NEC, the party’s highest decision-making structure between national conferences, to decide on Zuma’s future was clinched when Parliament postponed the State of the Nation Address on Tuesday, five days after maintaining it would go ahead, albeit with an all-important rider of possible extraordinary events.
If he lost the vote, his entire cabinet would have to step down. The Top 6 then gave the National Working Committee (NWC) feedback about their two-hour meeting, which prompted the NWC to hold an emergency meeting at Luthuli House on Monday, 5 February. The charges were dropped shortly before Zuma became president in 2009, but were reinstated in 2016.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said his caucus welcomed the latest developments and that a special caucus meeting would be convened on Thursday to appraise MPs on the rationale behind the Sona postponement.
The State of the Nation address is an annual speech delivered by the president of South Africa.
“Zuma would listen to the Zulu king”.
“This is the beginning of the end for Zuma”, said Theo Venter, a political analyst at North-West University’s business school in Potchefstroom, west of Johannesburg.