A leaked recording of the African National Congress (ANC)’s treasurer-general has shed light on internal discussions on President Jacob Zuma’s future as head of state.
The audio of Paul Mashatile recorded from the Mining Indaba in Cape Town this week has revealed how a postponed national executive committee (NEC) meeting was expected to push Zuma out of the Union Buildings.
It’s the latest twist in the ANC’s ongoing attempts to end the debate on the so-called two centres of power, which sees Cyril Ramaphosa lead the party from Luthuli House while Zuma remains president of the country.
It appears that Mashatile was speaking just hours before talks between President Zuma and Ramaphosa were announced on Tuesday night, and led to the cancellation of the special NEC meeting.
We now know that that meeting was going to oust Zuma had he not resigned before then.
Mashatile says: “We’ve now agreed that if the president doesn’t want to resign voluntarily, we’ll recall him like we did with Thabo Mbeki.”
He also gave details of the meeting between Zuma and the party’s top six, which took place on Sunday, confirming that the president refused to go.
“President Zuma basically said to us ‘I’m not going anywhere.’”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the ANC president assured the nation that the constructive talks process he’s started on will offer the greatest opportunity to resolve the uncertainty around Zuma’s future without sowing divisions.
Ramaphosa says this is a challenging time for the country but both he and President Zuma are aware that people want and deserve closure on the matter.
Ramaphosa says he’s certain the outcome of the current process will address all concerns around Zuma's position and unite the country.
As discussions continue, Ramaphosa says he will be able to report back to the organisation and the country in the “coming days”.
But the Democratic Alliance’s chief whip John Steenhuisen says time is running out.
“Unfortunately, the longer it drags on, then we can say to Ramaphosa; ‘you’ve pulled the trigger, surely you had a plan for how this was going to turn out.’”
Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete says she's waiting for certainty from the executive about the way forward for the state of the nation address.
The DA and the Inkatha Freedom Party want a resolution by Sunday evening, otherwise, they will meet on Monday to determine a way forward and expedite the matter in Parliament.
At the same time, the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule is expected to brief ANC MPs on the matter on Thursday.