After a day of furious behind-the-scenes negotiations and deliberations between Parliament, the ANC and the opposition, President Jacob Zuma was apparently convinced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to postpone the state of the nation address (Sona).
ANC spokeswoman Khusela Diko said that meeting started mid-afternoon and confirmed it was due to discuss Zuma.
But this was before the ANC top six met on Sunday to discuss Zuma’s future. You have to engage with him and say, “look we are not booting you out but we think we can work better that way” and hear him out and come back to the NWC (National Working Committee).
She said they wanted a favorable environment for the address to be delivered because in the past four years Zuma’s addresses have been interrupted by the opposition.
BLF members had meant to protest outside the ANC headquarters and hand over a memorandum demanding that beleaguered President Jacob Zuma serve out his term, which ends next year.
An emergency meeting is now being held by ANC leaders in other to find a solution to an impending danger which looms in the country considering the refusal of the president to resign from office.
“What we are hoping for is that the NEC (national executive committee) will emerge with a united view on this matter”, she said.
The ANC’s Jackson Mthembu has given his immediate reaction, saying the party welcomes the postponement. This would likely cause some embarrassment to South African lawmakers, but many felt that it would be less undignified than the chaos that would have likely ensued if Zuma was allowed to speak on schedule.
On Monday, Zuma met Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, the influential traditional head of South Africa’s biggest ethnic group in the president’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Charges were first brought against Mr Zuma in 2005 but dropped by prosecutors in 2009.
Many graft allegations against him have centred on the wealthy Gupta family, who are accused of unfairly obtaining lucrative government contracts and even being able to choose ministerial appointments.
But his request was rejected by the NWC, which then held an urgent meeting on Monday at Luthuli House.
Earlier, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said Mr Zuma must go “sooner rather than later”, and that any delay would lead to violent conflict.
Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes during his rule thanks to loyal voting by ANC lawmakers, but support for his leadership is on the wane. “We also call on the ANC to take drastic measures against this individual”.
Mr Ramaphosa is now the front-runner to succeed him as president.