Johannesburg - A “fierce” and “robust” ANC national executive committee meeting had to be extended as it could not agree on holding a secret vote for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
The meeting which was due to end on Sunday has been extended to Monday.
However, spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the extension was due to a number of items on the agenda which still needed to be discussed.
“There are a few items on the agenda. This is the last meeting of the year, we have to finish everything,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.
Earlier, City Press reported that Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom had shocked the party when he tabled a motion for a vote for Zuma to step down on Saturday.
The decision on the vote was deferred to Sunday but had to again be postponed because the meeting could not reach consensus.
Those who attended the meeting described the debate as “fierce”, “heated” and “robust”.
It is understood there was a larger number of speakers than usual, speaking for and against Zuma’s removal, but that there was still a stalemate.
The NEC is the only body with powers to recall the party president in between its conferences. The elective conference is due in 2017.
More Zuma supporters
Another NEC member who refused to divulge details confirmed that the meeting had to be extended because “they could not finish the robust discussions”.
The NEC has until now failed to act against Zuma despite growing calls for him to step down from various sectors of society.
It accepted his apology following the Constitutional Court ruling in March that he had failed to uphold the Constitution by not implementing former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action to pay back some of the money spent on upgrades to his Nkandla home.
The structure also decided to take collective responsibility, following a decline in electoral support during the local government elections, that saw the party lose key metros Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane to the opposition.
A source close to News24 confirmed that many of Zuma’s backers were not in the NEC meeting on Saturday, but that their numbers had increased on Sunday.
It is understood that Zuma's backers are not willing to go down without a fight, with more "fierce" fights expected on Monday.