Several closed door meetings between now and the end of next week are likely to define the rest of president Jacob Zuma’s political career.
According to CNBC Africa, a number of ANC officials are meeting with the president to try to negotiate a swift and dignified exit. However if no deal can be brokered, it is likely that yet another motion of no confidence will be held in parliament when it opens on 8 February.
“My sources tell me that meetings are being held to decide the future. President Zuma will be given a chance to resign with dignity or face being removed by a vote of no confidence,” said Aubrey Matshiqi, a political analyst with the Helen Suzman Foundation.
Having survived the last vote of no confidence in August 2017 by just 21 votes, analysts believe many more loyalists could jump the Zuma ship, while he runs the risk of being embarrassed in front of the nation live in parliament.
On Thursday, The Star reported that Zuma had reportedly been handed a deadline to step down as the country’s leader as early as next week Wednesday. Failing this, several ANC national executive committee (NEC) members told the paper that another motion of no confidence against Zuma was on the cards.
A vote of no confidence would give newly appointed ANC head, Cyril Ramaphosa’s supporters the opportunity to test their strength in the NEC, as Zuma is seen to be at a low point following the Constitutional Court ruling and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s loss to Ramaphosa.
The embattled president has already survived two motions of no confidence in the NEC, and eight motions in Parliament.
The continued speculation that Zuma’s term, which ends in 2019, would be cut short following Ramaphosa’s victory in December has seen the rand rally to its strongest levels in two and a half years, amid hopes improved policy and political certainty.