Editor's note: Jacob Zuma has managed to weather every political storm that has come his way but not that he is now longer president of the ANC there are plans afoot to remove him from power. Briefly.co.za editor, Stefan Mack, takes a closer look at the immediate future may hold for Jacob Zuma.
Jacob Zuma has survived every major scandal of his presidency and each motion of no-confidence brought against him has failed. His political cunning has enabled him to outmanoeuvre his opponents at every turn.
Since he is no longer the president of the ANC, he has lost significant political influence but this does not mean that he is powerless and still has a lot of friends in the ANC. Renewed pressure has begun to mount in a push to remove Zuma from power.
The NEC had convened a secret meeting to discuss ways in which to handle the "Zuma" issue, mostly out of self-preservation. Zuma has become a major political liability and the ANC is facing a loss the polls in 2019 the first time in South Africa's democratic history.
The main point of the secret meeting was to find a way for Zuma to have a peaceful and dignified exit from power. The pressure is so great that ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to give the State of the Nation Address later next month, a duty reserved for the president of South Africa.
An alternative is that Zuma may give the state of the nation speech his farewell speech and allow for an uneventful handover of power.
An ANC leader who requested to remain anonymous said that Zuma will be asked to step down in a manner which makes it appear as if the NEC had not made the request. If that fails the NEC can easily draft a resolution which would remove Zuma from power. The consensus within the decision-making body is that sooner is better than later.
Despite this, there are still some die-hard Zuma supporters who do not believe that Zuma will step down. They dismiss the notion of recalling Zuma and say that he is not Thabo Mbeki. The ANC had recalled Thabo Mbeki as state president in 2008, eight months before his term was over.
This set the precedent which allows for the recall of the state president by the ruling party. However, when Mbeki was removed, Zuma had been elected as the president of the ANC by a large majority.
Cyril Ramaphosa does not enjoy the same level of support and the elective conference this year saw the ANC president win by a very narrow margin. This has resulted in a party that is being run by two different factions which some say is a recipe for disaster.
Parallel centre for power
With Ramaphosa in charge of the ANC and Zuma in charge of the government a situation has emerged where the country effectively has two centres of power.
If the plan to remove Zuma fails and he remains in power the opposition parties may table another motion of no confidence based on the latest court rulings against Zuma.
This may allow ANC to use the cover of a secret ballot to remove Zuma. With Ramaophosa being the ANC president, members of the party may try and secure positions in his new Cabinet by turning on Zuma.
Zuma's supporters claim that they still have sufficient support in the NEC to oppose any plans to remove him.
His back against the wall
If Zuma feels threatened he may lash out preemptively to remove Ramaphosa before his position is compromised. This increases the chance of a negotiated exit in order to avoid an internal conflict which may damage the ANC's chances in 2019 even further.
Ramaphosa supporter China Dodovu, former ANC North West deputy chairperson, revealed that many leaders care about themselves and their friends more than the people they are supposed to serve.
Which means that those leaders who have supported Zuma mat realise that his time is limited and may change sides and support Ramaphosa.
No reason for Zuma to step down
Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said that the notion of removing Zuma is misplaced.
“If Zuma is to be recalled, there must be a reason, just as there was for [Mbeki]. Here we must hear what the reason will be and I am sure leaders will apply their minds. But it can’t be that even before the president closes the conference and there is a declaration, that you people are running with a headline. It is so malicious. You are hurting the ANC,” she said.
She says that as a deployed of the party, Zuma is subject to orders from Luthuli House which means that the threat of two centres of power is unfounded.
A means to avoid this in future is to synchronise the appointment of the ANC president and the general elections.
Baleka Mbete said that Zuma's recall would be the first item on the agenda for the new NEC.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Brieflyco.za
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