South Africa’s ruling party ANC decided to remove Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa after he refused to resign, a senior official said on Tuesday.
His ousting comes after the party held a marathon closed door meeting to determine his fate.
After 13 hours of intense deliberation, the party’s 107-member national executive decided it would “recall” Zuma from his post.
State broadcaster SABC said the ANC had given Zuma 48 hours to turn in his resignation. A senior party source later told Reuters Zuma made clear that he was going nowhere.
Despite the damning decision to order Zuma’s “recall” – ANC-speak for ‘remove from office’ – domestic media have speculated that the 75-year-old might yet defy the party’s wishes, forcing it into the indignity of having to unseat him in parliament with a vote of no confidence.
The ANC said it would hold a media briefing at 1000 GMT to reveal the results of the meeting.
As the dramatic power struggle built to a climax, African National Congress chief Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly left the all-night meeting for a face-to-face conversation with Zuma at his official Pretoria residence.
Ramaphosa’s motorcade was seen returning to the meeting at midnight. Three hours later, the talks closed.
Zuma’s presidency has been marred by corruption scandals, slow economic growth and record unemployment that have fuelled public anger.
South Africa’s economy, the most sophisticated on the continent, has stagnated under Zuma’s nine-year tenure, with banks and mining firms reluctant to invest because of policy uncertainty and rampant corruption.
He was scheduled to stand down next year after serving the maximum two terms after coming to power in 2009.
Zuma’s hold over the ANC was shaken in December when his chosen successor — his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — narrowly lost to Ramaphosa in a vote to be the new party leader.
Zuma, 75, has not spoken publicly since February 4 when he was first asked by the party top leadership to step down.