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THE African National Congress (ANC) recalled Jacob Zuma today, officially instructing him to step down as president of South Africa.
The decision was taken after a marathon meeting of the ruling party’s national executive, which began at noon yesterday and went on for 13 hours.
Executive committee members were told that Mr Zuma had agreed to resign, but only in another three to six months.
After intensive discussion, the national executive sent a delegation to Mr Zuma asking him to slash the period before his resignation.
Mr Zuma refused, prompting the ANC to announce publicly today that it had formally recalled him.
The party said that the “uncertainty and anxiety” surrounding his continued tenure had compelled it to take more decisive action.
The ANC said that it expected Mr Zuma to respond tomorrow.
The South African Communist Party (SACP), which is allied with the ANC along with trade union confederation Cosatu, stated that it was pleased that the ANC “is at last at one about the urgent necessity” for Mr Zuma to resign.
It said that the recall decision should “pave the way to a deep-going, decisive self-correction and greater ANC and alliance unity.”
Cosatu also welcomed the decision but said it was not a time for “political theatre,” adding that the president had “weakened and almost dismantled the alliance.”
It said that Mr Zuma’s removal should be secured “using parliamentary processes” if necessary.
The SACP said that it was urgent that the government move to tackle “corporate state capture and other forms of corruption.”
And it should place a priority on “radically reducing, and eventually eliminating, high levels of class, race and gender inequalities and uneven development between urban and rural areas, unemployment, poverty and social insecurity.”
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