Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma is now isolated. He can delay - but his political demise has virtually been signed today.
This was the reaction of political analyst Daniel Silke after the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) announced its decision to recall Zuma after days of deliberations and a marathon 13-hour meeting the day before.
"The official recall has virtually eliminated all escape options for Jacob Zuma. He can fight the recall via the National Assembly process but the eventual result will be the same. He will do himself less damage by acceding to the NEC's request," said Silke.
Business Leadership South Africa, meanwhile, said it’s now important to end the two-week chaos and urged the ANC’s new leadership to act swiftly, but constitutionally, in removing their "deployee" from the high office.
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule on Tuesday afternoon confirmed the party had decided to recall Zuma, and that Cyril Ramaphosa would deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) if it does take place.
Magashule reiterated there was no deadline for Zuma to resign.
The rand, which initially strengthened to R11.88/$, dipped 0.2% to R11.96 by 14:42 as traders were unconvinced that Zuma would depart soon.
BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale said that swift action is needed "so that work of recovering our future which was imperilled by his ruinous regime – characterised by incompetence, corruption, state capture and low economic growth – can begin in earnest”.
Mohale labelled the NEC's decision to recall Zuma as "courageous".
He said Zuma's refusal to resign shows that he, his defenders and supporters are "driven by nothing more than avarice, myopia and unbridled self-interest", and it "demonstrates that he’s uniquely unfit to hold this important office”.
Mohale said the impasse over Zuma's tenure has created "debilitating uncertainty for the SA economy" as it has deferred important political calendar events including the delivery of SONA, which effectively opens Parliament, and has threatened delivery of the National Budget.
He added that the task of rebuilding and strengthening the economy to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality cannot be postponed any further.
Silke said the NEC's decision confirms that power has indeed shifted to Ramaphosa and that there now exists an urgency to remove Zuma.
"We may well now be in the final lap of the Zuma Presidency - but he will not be crossing any winning tape in the process. Ramaphosa has won a protracted battle in the NEC, he has done enough to set himself up as incoming President of the country," he said, adding that "the wounds of this episode will still take some time to heal".
He noted that Zuma's removal was the second consecutive recall of a constitutionally elected president of South Africa. Zuma's predecessor Thabo Mbeki stepped down in September 2008, after being similarly recalled by the NEC.
"The weight and gravitas of the NEC decision - now that it is in the open - changes the dynamic," said Silke. "It heaps pressure on him. The announcement coming from one of his arch supporters, Ace [Magashule], adds to the pressure."* SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.