While some want ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to take over if Zuma resigns, is recalled or impeached, others are rooting for Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma vied for the ANC presidency at the party’s 54th elective conference in December. Ramaphosa won.
The idea of Dlamini Zuma becoming the interim president was reportedly suggested by ANC deputy president David Mabuza, who is unofficially tasked with uniting the fragmented ANC.
This was similar to the route the party took in 2008 when Thabo Mbeki was recalled.
Kgalema Motlanthe, then Zuma’s ally, was caretaker president until 2009 when Zuma took the reins.
Ramaphosa’s aides wanted the notion of an interim president scrapped.
Bheki Cele, national executive committee member and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said there was no such thing. “We don’t know where this comes from. We only have the president, not an interim president.”
Cele, who had joined the chorus for Zuma to step down, asked why people were suggesting Dlamini Zuma. “Why not Lindiwe Sisulu or Bheki Cele? We have an ANC president and a deputy president who can take over from the incumbent. When Motlanthe took over from Mbeki in 2008, he was the deputy president of the ANC, not just an NEC member.”
The SACP’s first deputy general secretary, Solly Mapaila, told party members in Cape Town yesterday that the Zuma era was over.
A senior ANC MP said he hoped the leadership transition discussions would be concluded today. “If nothing flies this weekend, it’s going to the NEC. That is clear. The man has to go now,” said the ANC MP.
He said ever since Ramaphosa promised the cabinet caucus meeting that no deal struck with Zuma would include immunity from prosecution, they (senior leaders) had wanted the matter resolved.
If Zuma were to be impeached he would forfeit his lifetime benefits to which presidents were entitled.
If he remained in office, he would face an EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence on February 22.
Insiders said the ANC leaders had dealt with the issue of a recall with care this week as it could have overshadowed the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations at the Grand Parade in Cape Town.
As yet, there was still no official word from the ANC on Zuma’s future.