No clarity on when or if Zuma will address the nation.
South Africans were left confused as mixed reports of embattled President Jacob Zuma addressing the nation this morning began surfacing on media sites.
Some media houses received a press statement from the Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS) confirming that Zuma would speak to the nation at 10am on Wednesday.
Newsrooms began preparing for what they expected would be the final goodbye from Zuma.
However that message was soon scrapped with the presidency denying there was a scheduled press conference.
The wave of confusion began shortly after the press conference in which ANC secretary general Ace Magashule announced that the party had resolved to recall Zuma.
GCIS announced in a press release that the scheduled Cabinet meeting for Wednesday had been cancelled. It was scheduled for the same time that the nation expected Zuma to address them.
GCIS quoted communications minister Nkensani Kubayi-Ngubane as saying: “We are alive to the developments taking place in the ruling party. Government reassures South Africans that service delivery will not be impacted upon.”
Magashule said the ANC did expect to get a response on Wednesday from Zuma to its letter, demanding that Zuma resign.
But the ANC soon dismissed the message as “fake news” and those from GCIS who confirmed the initial broadcast were forced to retract their statements: “Dear Colleagues please note I hereby withdraw the message that I sent you about a briefing. I sincerely apologise for the mistake and the inconvenience it has caused as there is no truth to the sms message. I apologize for the mistake! Thanks”, the retraction read.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe added to the confusion this morning by not clarifying what Magashule meant by the “10am deadline”.
Speaking to SAFM this morning Mabe said the deadline in a political setup was guided by events and the 10am deadline was the time set out for the president to respond to the ANC and not necessarily to the nation.
“Decisions of the ANC are not negotiated arrangements with its deployees.
“Zuma is a member of the ANC in good standing and we expect our members to find it in themselves to help the ANC to discharge its responsibility of providing leadership.”
Mabe said there could be adjustments in deadline times because of logistics.
“The ANC has made a decision and that decision has been conveyed by the Secretary General.”
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni believes the late night confusion was merely last minute scrambling to persuade Zuma to leave office.
“This is just a desperate effort to manage transition. It is quite clear that Zuma is not willing to go but there will definitely be last minute efforts to try and persuade him. This was just last minute scrambling around,” Fikeni said.