ANC set to oust President Jacob Zuma in no-confidence motion

Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and embattled President Jacob Zuma

Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and embattled President Jacob Zuma

During a 13-hour marathon in Pretoria on Monday, the ANC's executive committee tried to end a prolonged standoff with Zuma, who has proposed to resign within three to six months.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said South Africa's ruling party wants an "amicable solution" after calling on Zuma to step down.

"Subsequent to that, we move on to an early election", Democratic Alliance party leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters, speaking alongside several opposition parties.

"The decision by the NEC to recall its deployee was taken only after exhaustive discussion on the impact such a recall would have on the country". A party spokesperson said in a conference yesterday that while the party wants Zuma out urgently, they also want to install Rhamaphosa as president. "Zuma is very emotional", News 24 quoted an official, who was present at the meeting between the ANC leadership and the president, as saying.

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Zuma has been a controversial president since taking office in 2009 and has faced multiple corruption claims and eight no-confidence votes, all of which he has overcome.

Corruption scandals involving Zuma have sunk the popularity of the ANC, which holds stature as a key player that fought white minority rule and is credited with the dismantling of apartheid in 1991. Presidents in South Africa are chosen by ruling party lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, not by voters directly.

Zuma is no longer head of the ANC, which has been led by the deputy president and expected successor Cyril Ramaphosa since December. The Economic Freedom Fighters, the third biggest party, last month proposed the no-confidence motion that's now due to be debated on 22 February, and plans to go to court if it isn't brought forward. "We are of the view that Mr Zuma has violated the constitution and naturally must be removed‚" DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

The political wrangle plunged South Africa - the continent's most developed economy - into confusion over who is running the country, with last week's annual State of the Nation address cancelled.

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But Zuma has refused to go despite months of negotiations.

Zuma's second and final term was due to end around mid-2019.

A judicial commission is about to start a probe of alleged looting of state enterprises by Zuma's associates, and prosecutors are expected to announce soon whether they will reinstate corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago.

In recent weeks, attempts by senior party members to convince Mr Zuma to leave have come to nothing.

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"If President Zuma at some point will respond, he will respond, but we can't continue waiting".

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