Today at a press briefing at Luthuli House, the ANC confirmed that it had decided to recall President Jacob Zuma. Dr Robert Besseling of Exx Africa Business Risk Intelligence, published a note on the decision.
“President Zuma has so far refused to resign and he has asked for a three-month transition period in which he would remain as head of state to fight off corruption charges and implement a massive nuclear procurement deal that has been provisionally agreed with Russia, “ Besseling said.
“The ANC expects President Zuma to respond to the party’s recall on 14 February, although there is no guarantee that such a response will be made public. In the most likely scenario, President Zuma will resign by the end of tomorrow.”
Besseling added that the ANC was now preparing to table a vote of no confidence or impeachment in the country’s parliament, where it holds a strong majority. “Yet procedural complications may delay a parliamentary impeachment of the president.”
The ANC’s decision to recall President Zuma follows several weeks of meandering negotiations over Zuma’s departure.
“The balance of power on the NEC and the party’s administrative body, the National Working Committee, has shifted decisively in favour of Ramaphosa since his election as president of the ANC in December. Ramaphosa has therefore felt confident to reject President Zuma’s key demands for a negotiated resignation,” Besseling pointed out.
However, in the most extreme scenario, “which we still deem unlikely at this stage, President Zuma could declare a state of emergency in which he would assume temporary executive authority to suppress any political dissent.”
Besseling added that Zuma also has the discretionary authority to dismiss Ramaphosa and appoint an influential loyalist, such as his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or another senior ANC official, to replace him as deputy state president.
“Such a dismissal would only temporarily thwart Ramaphosa’s succession as he remains the ANC’s candidate to replace Zuma as state president. Moreover, Zuma can also still mobilise his ethnic Zulu supporters in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, which would significantly raise the risk of violent attacks on government assets and public infrastructure in that region.”
Once Cyril Ramaphosa secures the national presidency, he is likely to announce a wide-ranging and high-profile anti-corruption campaign “in order to weaken his political rivals and consolidate his authority over the ANC and the government,” Besseling concluded.