The African National Congress, the party of the late Nelson Mandela and the ruling party in South Africa, has ordered the country's president, Jacob Zuma, to hand in his resignation, though giving him no deadline to do so.
The party’s secretary general, Ace Magashule, made the announcement at a news conference today after a marathon special ANC National Executive Committee meeting outside Pretoria that lasted into the early hours.
The executive committee had reportedly resolved to give Zuma the option to resign or be recalled.
Although Zuma indicated his willingness to resign, Magashule said, he wanted a grace period of between three and six months to step down, which the executive committee rejected.
When Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s deputy president who also heads the ANC, went to see Zuma Monday night, the president reportedly said: "Do what you want to do."
Ramaphosa has been in ongoing discussions with Zuma to negotiate an exit plan while South Africans waited with bated breath.
Last week saw the unprecedented cancellation of the State of the Nation address that was scheduled for Thursday.
Opposition parties Monday called for the dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections to be held to elect a new president.
It’s unclear when Zuma will resign. Officials have not given him a deadline, Magashule said, but are “leaving it to him to do the right thing.”
Zuma stands accused of more than 780 charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering related to an arms deal scandal. Although he has consistently denied the charges, prosecutors are gearing up to reinstate them. The beleaguered president was also found by the highest court in South Africa to have failed in his duty to uphold, defend and respect the country’s Constitution after making improvements to his private homestead with taxpayers’ money.