A special ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Monday afternoon, 12 February, is the cut-off point for the Zuma / Ramaphosa transition process.
After Ramaphosa’s unsuccessful direct talks with Zuma, the ANC called the urgent NEC meeting. An emergency NEC meeting that was meant to happen last Wednesday was cancelled by Ramaphosa after his Tuesday meeting with Zuma.
Motion of no confidence
The Parliamentary caucus needs a mandate from the NEC to support a motion of no confidence against Zuma in case he refuses to comply with the NEC decision to recall him.
If Zuma refuses to step down on Monday, a parliamentary process would be set in motion.
Ramaphosa did not give much away about his talks with Zuma on Sunday when he delivered the keynote address in Cape Town to commemorate the 28 years since Nelson Mandela was released from prison.
He said that the NEC would finalise the matter.
“As leadership of the ANC we are currently engaged in discussions around the transition to a new administration and specifically to resolve the issues of the position of the president of the Republic,” Ramaphosa said.
The Economic Freedom Fighters have tabled a motion of no confidence in Zuma, which will be heard on 22 February.
Parliament took an unprecedented step to indefinitely postpone SONA last week.
The Monday meeting
ANC NEC members have started arriving at St George Hotel where the special NEC will take place pic.twitter.com/iXJetlFhV2
— POWER987News (@POWER987News) February 12, 2018
Monday’s meeting is expected to be a marathon due to the resistance to Zuma stepping down, expected from Zuma supporters in the NEC.
Zuma has survived two motions of no confidence set before the NEC.
Ramaphosa is expected to report back to the NEC on his discussions with Zuma.
The NEC is expected to make a decision about whether there is a stalemate and about what the next step should be.
Ramaphosa mute on Zuma discussions
On Thursday, Ramaphosa called on those who phone him or stop him in the corridors to ask for a briefing, to be more disciplined. He told them he is doing his work as party leader and will report back to ANC structures when that work is done.
Ramaphosa is said to be unhappy about untrue rumours spread by senior leaders about him, among other fabricated untruths, brokering a deal to protect Zuma from possible criminal prosecution.
Speaking at an ANC rally in Mpumalanga on Sunday, party chairperson Gwede Mantashe asked ANC members to give Ramaphosa the space he needs to do his work.
“You must appreciate the value of democratic centralism. This message must go to all members of the ANC. All members of the ANC must appreciate that if the president of the ANC says ’ngilindeni (please wait) I am still talking to President Jacob Zuma,’ there is no need to insult him,” Mantashe said.
What happens after the meeting?
Ramaphosa is under immense pressure from opposition parties who want Zuma to be forced out through mass action. Should Zuma still be in office after Monday’s meeting, opposition leaders plan on meeting to thrash out the way forward.
A small Cabinet reshuffle is expected to follow Zuma’s exit which would be aimed at achieving a balance that would not look like a purge.
There are critical portfolios where people will need to be moved because they are either incapable or compromised by state capture and corruption.
Zuma has three options:
- The ANC track, which would mean subjecting himself to the NEC and NWC and which will lead to his firing.
- A parliamentary route which will entail the proposed vote of no confidence or impeachment.
- A negotiation route in which Ramaphosa has the upper hand.
Zuma cannot renege on his decision to step down, because, if he does, the ANC will push to have its own vote of no confidence, which could be debated before the Economic Freedom Fighters’ vote.
What is a motion of no confidence?
It is an expression of no confidence in the entire executive, the president, deputy president, Cabinet and deputy ministers.
The Speaker of the National Assembly becomes the acting president for 30 days, after taking an oath of office.
After 30 days a special sitting of Parliament will elect a new president from the House. The new president must already be an MP.
What will happen if the president resigns?
There would be a vacancy in the office of the president and the deputy president becomes the acting president for 30 days, after taking an oath of office.
Thereafter, a special sitting of Parliament elects a new president from the House. The new president must already be an MP.