Johannesburg, Feb 14 (IANS) South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday said he would not be stepping down after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) announced that he had until the end of the day to tender his resignation or else face a vote of no-confidence.
In an interview with public broadcaster SABC, Zuma said he had not been given any reason as to why he should resign, but his almost 10-year stint in office has been stained by a slew of high-level corruption allegations that have left him isolated from the ANC’s national executive committee.
He said the effort to remove him by the ANC was “unfair”.
“It was very unfair to me that this issue is raised…Nobody has ever provided the reasons. Nobody is saying what I have done,” he said.
While expressing his disagreement to resign, Zuma said he was not defying the decision by the leadership of the ruling party. He said he will be making a statement later in the day on the matter.
The ANC parliamentary caucus on Wednesday agreed that if the President did not resign, they would try to remove him through a vote of no-confidence in Parliament on Thursday.
“We can no longer wait beyond today, we don’t want to keep South Africa waiting,” said ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile at a press conference. “The decision has been taken, it must be implemented.”
The party wants Vice President and ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa to take Zuma’s place.
Earlier in the day, an elite South African police team raided the luxurious family home of the controversial Gupta family — a clan of Indian-born businessmen — linked to Zuma.
Officials said three people were arrested as part of an investigation into the wealthy Guptas who are known to wield substantial influence in the South African politics due to close ties with the President.
The Gupta family has been accused of “state capture” — using their close ties with Zuma and a number of senior government officials to influence ministerial appointments, secure multi-million dollar government contracts and gain access to inside information.
The Guptas and Zuma deny all allegations of wrongdoing.
The debate surrounding a premature exit from the presidency for Zuma, whose term is set to end in 2019, has been bolstered by the serious corruption scandals that surround him.
ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule had announced on Tuesday that the party’s leadership had formally requested the President to step down after weeks of political maneuvers and negotiations behind closed doors.