South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) party executive committee has decided to ‘recall,’ or remove, President Jacob Zuma as head of state, a senior ANC source said on Tuesday.
The final decision came after a 13-hour meeting of the party’s top leadership, says a Reuters report.
Since Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected party leader in December, Zuma has faced mounting calls from his party to end his scandal-plagued second term scheduled to run out in mid-2019.
The 75-year-old Zuma has been South Africa’s most controversial president since the end of white-minority rule in 1994, overseeing a tumultuous nine years marked by economic decline and numerous allegations of corruption.
The ruling party’s executive committee has the authority to order Zuma to step down as head of state, although there is domestic media speculation that he might refuse.
Ramaphosa, 65, went to meet Zuma late on Monday before returning to the meeting that sealed the president’s fate.
“We decided to recall Zuma. He hasn’t been told yet,” the senior ANC source said.
“Cyril went to speak with him,” the source said, adding that when Ramaphosa returned to the meeting, “the discussions were tense and difficult on whether to recall Zuma.”
The decision to remove Zuma was widely reported by local media.
ANC officials and Zuma’s spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The SABC state broadcaster, citing sources, reported that Ramaphosa met Zuma to pass the message that the ANC’s executive group had given him 48 hours to resign as head of state.
Local news service Eye Witness News reported, citing sources, that when Ramaphosa went to see Zuma, the president said: “Do what you want to do” when asked whether he would agree to resign or face a recall.
Zuma’s tenure as president officially runs until mid-2019 and he has not said in public whether he will step down voluntarily. Zuma no longer holds a top position in the party.
The rand, which has tended to strengthen on signs that Zuma could step down early, was volatile on Monday as the political drama unfolded.