There is no decision that Zuma must go – Magashule

Ace Magashule (File, Volksblad)
Ace Magashule (File, Volksblad)

Johannesburg – The ANC has not taken a decision that President Jacob Zuma must step down as head of state, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said on Monday.

"We have not arrived at any decision. We are just saying there is this engagement, discussions which will actually take place between us (ANC officials) and President Jacob Zuma," Magashule said.

He was addressing the media following the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla at the weekend.

ANC NEC sources had said that the committee had decided that Zuma must be recalled, but that the party's top six officials, led by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, should manage his "dignified exit".

Calls from within the ANC that Zuma should go, grew louder after Ramaphosa won the party's presidential race in December. Zuma's opponents have argued that the party needs to start on a "clean slate" ahead of the 2019 elections.

Magashule has, however, confirmed that the ANC NEC – the party's second highest decision-making body – discussed Zuma's recall.

No deadline

News24 reported on Friday that the motion to recall Zuma was raised by newly elected NEC member David Masondo and backed by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bheki Cele.

Magashule said engagements between Zuma and the officials related to the work of government.

"It is a matter of interaction. Ramaphosa and Zuma are talking about coordination between Luthuli House and government. There isn't any rumour or decision to remove Jacob Zuma as some say on social media," he said.

He also denied that there was a deadline for Zuma to step down.

"So there are no timelines here, we don't do things that way. We engage, we process things, we discuss, so give us space as the ANC to deal with our matters."

Earlier on Monday, Zuma indicated that he was staying in office, releasing a diary of his official engagements until mid-February that include giving the State Of The Nation Address on February 8.

READ: Zuma releases his diary amid expectation that he will exit office

Fresh provincial leadership elections

The ANC has also confirmed that it has suspended the provincial executive committees of KwaZulu-Natal, led by Sihle Zikalala, and the Free State led by Magashule.

They have also been instructed to stop their appeals on court decisions that ruled that their respective elective conferences were invalid.

"We don't want to solve our matters in court. The leadership of the two provinces was engaged and it was agreed to solve problems internally," Magashule said.

Previously Magashule had said that the provincial leaders had remained in office because they had lodged appeals.

Magashule said the ANC's top six officials would visit KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday and the Free State on Wednesday to announce the members of interim leadership to oversee fresh elections.

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