Zuma has done nothing wrong but he must go – Magashule

Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma has done nothing wrong but he must still be recalled.

That is the word from ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, who confirmed to the media on Tuesday that the party's national executive committee (NEC) decided at its meeting on Monday to recall Zuma as head of state.

The decision was taken during a 13-hour long NEC meeting that ended in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

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Magashule said he went with deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte to inform Zuma about the decision on Tuesday morning.

"We did not take these decisions because comrade Jacob Zuma has done anything wrong," Magashule told reporters.

He faced a barrage of questions from journalists on the reasons the party's highest decision-making body no longer wanted Zuma at the helm.

'Forget about fake news Russian nuclear deal' 

Magashule mentioned that the current socio-economic conditions of the country formed part of the reasons for the recall. 

"The decision of the NEC provides certainty to the people of South Africa at a time when the economic and social challenges facing the country require urgent and resolute response by all sections of society."

Magashule also rubbished claims that Zuma's determination to hold on to his position for three to six more months was because of unfinished business around a nuclear deal he had been hoping to clinch with Russia.

"Forget about [that] fake news [on] Russian nuclear or any other thing that disrespects President Zuma. We still believe in him as a leader," said Magashule.

Zuma's deputy in government, Cyril Ramaphosa, was victorious at the ANC's watershed elective conference in December, taking over from him as party president.

Magashule said that following the election of new leadership at the conference, the ANC now wanted to align the role of government with that of the ruling party.

Ramaphosa to deliver SONA

He added that it was critical for the country to unite around the task of job creation and economic growth and transformation.

On a possible time frame for Zuma's exit from office, Magashule said there was no deadline for Zuma's resignation, but the party expected the country's president to make a public announcement on Wednesday. 

He would not answer questions on what the party would do if Zuma refused to resign, and stopped short of saying he did not expect Zuma to resign.

Magashule said the party had not considered a motion of no confidence in Parliament.

"Some of the matters we are contending with are the opportunistic manoeuvres by the opposition in Parliament, including motions of no confidence in the president, calls for [the] dissolution of Parliament and other desperate acts," he said.

Magashule said the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which is not a legal requirement, would be given by Ramaphosa.

SONA was postponed indefinitely last week, amid the ANC's wrangling over Zuma.

The EFF requested Speaker Baleka Mbete to bring forward a motion of no confidence that was originally set for February 22.