South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has formally asked President Jacob Zuma to resign, following marathon talks by senior party officials.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told reporters that the National Executive Committee decided Zuma’s departure should be “treated with urgency”, the BBC reports, but the 75-year-old has agreed only to step down within the next three to six months.
ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly left a 13-hour executive committee meeting around midnight last night local time and drove to the president’s official residence to deliver an ultimatum to Zuma.
The ANC “has the authority to order Zuma to step down as head of state”, Reuters says, but the party has no constitutional power to remove the president from office if he refuses to abide by the decision.
The move comes after weeks of mounting pressure for Zuma to resign after nine years as president, which have been “marred by economic decline and multiple charges of corruption,” The Guardian says.
Zuma is also facing a no-confidence motion in parliament, scheduled for 22 February.
Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane, who heads the Democratic Alliance party, has announced that opposition parties would back the no-confidence motion, and has called for early elections to bring an end to the turmoil.