The battle for positions starts now.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to be sworn in as president of the country today after President Jacob Zuma finally quit last night.
ANC Chief whip Jackson Mthembu in an interview with the Independent Media this morning said the election was initially scheduled for tomorrow but has been moved forward after Zuma quit last night.
This effectively cancelled the planned motion of no confidence that was to be debated and voted for this afternoon.
“The Chief Justice is available to undertake the function of officiating the election of the new President. That function is performed by the Chief Justice or another judge,” Mthembu said.
” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has since availed himself to preside over the election of the president today.
“Discussions with the Chief Justice has made it possible to convert today’s sitting to be an election of the president. The resignation by the president has paved the way,” he said.
Mthembu said there would be no need for tomorrow’s sittings except for the state of the nation address (Sona) which is expected to take place at 7pm.
He confirmed the ANC caucus would meet today as scheduled.
As Zuma announced his resignation, lobbying for the ousting of his cabinet loyalists began in earnest.
Zuma finally tendered his resignation with immediate effect after weeks of intense pressure from inside and outside the ANC for him to quit.
But the embattled former president did not go out without a fight and charged that he was not afraid to be impeached or removed through a motion of no confidence and lose perks.
This was after the party had decided that he would be removed through a motion of no confidence today.
In his last moments in office, Zuma remained defiant, maintaining that he disagreed with the ANC decision to recall him.
Parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the development means the programme of parliament would be altered.
He could not confirm if parliament has officially accepted Zuma’s resignation.
“We can only find out later this morning,” Mothapo added.
In terms of the constitution, Zuma is required to tender his resignation letter to Mbete, who will then officially inform Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng about the development.
Last night Zuma effectively accused the ANC of violating his rights by recalling him without telling him what he had done wrong.
“I don’t fear exiting political office, however I have only asked my party to articulate my transgressions and the reason for its immediate instruction that I vacate office,” he said.
He said his disagreement was aimed at protecting the rule of law and his rights.
“I’m not clinging to power, I just wanted to the respect for the rule of law and my rights,” he said.
An emotional Zuma said his decision to resign was due to his discipline as the member of the ANC, even as he disagreed with the decision.
“As I leave, I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as the ANC, the organisation I’ve served all of my life in it,” he said.
He added he does not want the ANC to be divided over him or life lost in his name.
ANC deputy general secretary Jessie Duarte said as the party they wanted to save Zuma from the embarrassment of a motion of no confidence.
Duarte said they would respond to Zuma on his question regarding his recall.
“While we accept the resignation of President Zuma, we reiterate that our decision to impose a recall was taken only after exhaustive discussions on the impact such a recall would have on the country, the ANC and the functioning of government,”Duarte said
“This decision provides certainty to the people of South Africa at a time when the economic and social challenges facing the country require urgent and resolute response by all sections of society,” Duarte said.
As the nation awaited to be addressed by Zuma yesterday, following the ANC national executive committee’s decision to recall him, he chose to conduct an exclusive interview with national broadcaster SABC to respond to his recall.
Earlier Zuma said he felt victimised.
“My problem is that nobody has provided to me, even in the discussions that we are talking about, what have I done.
“I don’t think it is fair, I think it is unfair,” he said.
Zuma warned of dire consequences for the ANC following the decision to force him out.
He said the ANC may be at the crossroads again like in 2005 when he was unceremoniously removed as the country’s deputy president by then president Thabo Mbeki.
“It’s just two months from the conference and I think we are being plunged in a crisis that I’m sure comrades, my leaders will regret. Some people may not like this and may feel there is something wrong.”