Expectations were high that Zuma would be recalled this week when the ANC held a special meeting of its national executive committee (NEC), the party’s highest decision-making body.
However, the meeting was postponed after “fruitful and constructive” talks between ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and Zuma.
Infuriated former ANC MP Makhosi Khoza, now the leader of African Democratic Change party, said: “The ANC is playing with the minds of the people. The NEC must do the honourable thing and recall Zuma.
“He has done enough damage to our country and the economy. The ANC must stop treating him with kid gloves.”
She lambasted Ramaphosa for negotiating with a “devil” who has “molested” the nation since 2009, when he took office.
While still a member of the ANC, Khoza called Zuma an immoral leader and urged him to step down.
Asked if she would return to the ANC if Zuma was recalled, she replied: “Maybe I could have considered it if the ANC was really going to be decisive and stop humiliating people like it’s doing.”
Khoza is believed to have been among the ANC MPs who voted in favour of the motion of no confidence against Zuma in August.
It was a secret ballot and nearly sealed his fate.
Equally enraged was former public protector Thuli Madonsela, who delivered two damning reports on Zuma during her seven-year tenure which ended in 2016.
First was the Secure in Comfort report, which dealt with the security upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla home.
The subsequent State of Capture report turned the spotlight on the underhand dealings of the Gupta family and Zuma’s son, Duduzane.
Madonsela said that as an activist she advocated for all citizens to be prioritised, not just one individual.
“This will have undesired consequences for the country. The time has come for people to be respected and prioritised,” she said.
It was also time for citizens to be proactive, she said, adding that:
“This will help to curb wasteful expenditure, maladministration and corruption in government.”
Zuma’s former allies, such as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele, have shifted their allegiance and now want him out of the Union Buildings.
Blade Nzimande, who was instrumental in Zuma’s rise to the Union Buildings, is also calling for him to step down.
The general secretary of the SACP was sacked by Zuma as the minister of higher education and training in October. This angered the SACP, which has been, arguably, the strongest Zuma critic in the tripartite alliance. Both Cele and Nzimande were actively campaigning for Ramaphosa to become the president of the ANC ahead of the December conference. While the tide has clearly turned against Zuma, with mounting calls inside and outside the ANC for him to step down, it remains to be seen how long he will hold onto power.
The NEC is the only party structure that has the power to recall him, but he can also be booted out through a vote of no-confidence or impeachment.
Political analyst ThabanI Khumalo said the writing was on the wall for Zuma.
“Whether he resists or defies his party, he is going to go. The question is how and when.”