Zuma to address press conference Wednesday

Zuma to address press conference Wednesday

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is expected to hold a media briefing on today to respond to the order by the African National Congress that he should vacate office.

While some reports said the embattled leader would hold the conference at 10:00 a.m. local time, some other reports said the time was uncertain.

“There is now confusion about the time. A Presidency official said there will be a press briefing, but a time is yet to be confirmed,” reported News 24.

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress ordered Zuma on Tuesday to step down as head of state but gave him no firm deadline to go.

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule told a news conference the party’s national executive was split on precisely when Zuma should step down.

Zuma had promised to respond to the order by Wednesday, Magashule said.

In explaining its decision to order Zuma to leave power, the ANC did not refer directly to the scandals surrounding his presidency. But it said his continued presence could “erode the renewed hope and confidence among South Africans” since the choice of new party leaders in December.

Since becoming president in 2009, Zuma has been dogged by scandals.

He is fighting the reinstatement of corruption charges that were dismissed before he became president over a 30 billion-rand (now $2.5 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s.

More recently, the country’s anti-corruption watchdog wrote in a 2016 report that the Gupta family, billionaire friends of Zuma, had used links with the president to win state contracts.

The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

Magashule said he had met Zuma personally to pass on the order to resign.

“We haven’t given him any deadline to respond,” he said. “The organisation expects him to go.”

Zuma had asked the party to give him a notice period of three to six months but that had been rejected, Magashule said.

READ ALSO: Zuma bows to pressure, agrees to resign

“Timelines? No. The NEC believes that this is an urgent matter so it should be treated with urgency,” he said.

South Africa’s cabinet meeting set for Wednesday has been postponed indefinitely, the government’s communication service said.

ANC Chairman, Gwede Mantashe, told a meeting in the Eastern Cape province that the party had given Zuma an ultimatum to resign or face a motion of no-confidence, the Independent online news service reported.

“Once you resist we are going to let you be thrown out through the vote of no confidence because you disrespect the organisation; therefore we are going to let you be devoured by the vultures,” Mantashe said in a message to Zuma, according to the Independent.

Zuma is already facing a no-confidence motion in parliament set for February 22 and brought by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters.

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