Johannesburg - The ANC top brass will meet on Wednesday to again discuss President Jacob Zuma's future, a day before the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Efforts to push Zuma out of office intensified after he refused to step down at a meeting with the party's Top Six leadership in Pretoria on Sunday night.
In a statement, ANC spokesperson Khusela Diko said after extensive deliberations at the meeting of the National Working Committee on Monday, it was decided that a special NEC meeting be convened.
"Following extensive deliberation, the NWC resolved to convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the highest decision making body of the ANC between conferences, on Wednesday, February 7, 2018," she said.
"Amongst the issues to be tabled to the Special NEC meeting will be preparations for the SONA and a report back from the NWC on matters mandated to it, including management of the transition between the 5th and 6th administration of government and pending actions in Parliament," she added.
It remains unclear if Zuma will be allowed to table the SONA.
There was a push for the postponement of the SONA on Thursday in order to have the special meeting to recall Zuma.
So rife was speculation on Zuma’s future that the SABC was forced to distance itself from a social media post that the president was going to address the nation at 7pm on his resignation.
The uncertainty around Zuma’s future also hit the party’s caucus in Parliament, with his supporters and detractors readying themselves for a motion of no confidence against him should he continue to refuse to step down.
MPs supporting Zuma warned the party to guard against the “influence from people with ulterior motives” when recalling the incumbent from the Union Buildings.
Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi said the ANC should not be dictated to by opposition parties, and also argued there was no issue with the so-called two centres of power, a situation where Ramaphosa is party president and Zuma is head of the state.
"We are from a conference where we voted comrade Cyril Ramaphosa to be the president of the ANC and had discussions on the need for a transition," Mkongi said.
"A transition does not mean there has to be change (in leadership in government). The centre of power is the ANC, not a person,” he said.
“We can give this thing (crown to be country's president) to comrade Cyril in 2019," Mkongi said in reference the next general elections.
Mkongi is a known Zuma defender, especially when motions of no confidence were brought in Parliament over the years.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has scheduled a motion of no confidence debate, sought by the EFF, for February 22.
But those ANC MPs opposed to Zuma were planning to boycott or stage a walkout during the SONA.
“We are not going to listen to Zuma; he is not listening the ANC,” an MP speaking on condition of anonymity said.
EFF leader Julius Malema said they would table a motion of no confidence in Zuma first thing when SONA begins.
“SONA must come. Our people need to know the state of affairs but it must be delivered by people who respect the constitution, not a constitutional delinquent,” said Malema.
“We are in a process of removing Zuma... Bring him here,” he added.
Malema emphasised that Zuma should not be allowed to address the nation.
“Give us the motion of no confidence debate first so that we can have a smooth SONA. Why spend R4 million on a SONA by Zuma? That man can't tell you the future because he is leaving. His leaving is not open for discussion, the only question is when is he leaving,” he said.
The fallout over Zuma’s future also played itself out at Luthuli House on Monday with Black First Land First (BLF) members clashing with a grouping of ANC supporterst that came to defend the organisation.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was in the firing line of angry party supporters after he accepted a memorandum from BLF in which they called for the rejection of calls for Zuma to step down.
Soon after Magashule accepted the memorandum he was booed, insulted and even pelted with water bottles as his security detail shielded him from angry ANC members and supporters.
”Ace must go! Ace is a thief!” they screamed and sang.