A top official of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has given dramatic details of how President Jacob Zuma stubbornly refused to agree to resign at a meeting on Sunday.
The scandal-hit Mr Zuma was urged by the party’s top six officials to step down in favour of new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, but he refused, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said in a leaked audio published by the Times Live news site.
“We were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don’t want two centres of power; we want President Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC‚ but [also] the affairs of the state. And we were very clear about it,” Mr Mashatile said.
He quoted Mr Zuma as replying: ‘What do you guys mean by transition?’ He said this is a strange word that you guys have just coined. What is this thing you are talking about called transition?…I’m not going anywhere‚ I’m not convinced by you guys so I’m not going to resign.”
Afterwards, the officials – including Mr Ramaphosa – agreed to call a meeting of the party’s top leadership body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), to decide Mr Zuma’s fate.
However, the meeting was called off after Mr Zuma and Mr Ramaphosa held direct talks, agreeing to resolve the leadership dispute in the coming days without “discord or division”, according to a statement by Mr Ramaphosa.