South Africa’s parliament will hold a vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma on Thursday, the governing ANC party said on Wednesday.
“We will possibly elect a new president on Thursday … if not Friday,” ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile told journalists, assuming scandal-hit Zuma will lose the vote.
“We want certainty. We would like the incoming president [to hold the postponed State of the Nation address] without delay.”
The vote of no confidence, requested by opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters, had initially been scheduled for Feb. 22.
The ANC caucus in parliament decided to move the vote forward after it formally asked Zuma to resign on Tuesday.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said that Zuma would speak at 0800 GMT and satellite trucks were in position at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, the seat of the country’s government.
Zuma’s office said there was no “official communication” of any impending address but urged media to wait.
The Secretary-General of South Africa’s ANC said Zuma did not threaten to challenge his removal by the party in court, as speculated by local media.
Ace Magashule, the sribe of the ANC, had told a news conference that Zuma would respond by Wednesday on the decision to “recall” him.
The ANC ordered Zuma to step down as head of state after marathon talks over the fate of a leader whose scandal-plagued years in power darkened and divided Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid ‘Rainbow Nation’.
Leading members of the ANC want new party leader Cyril Ramaphosa to replace Zuma as president, Magashule told a news conference.
The party’s national executive was split on precisely when Zuma should go, Magashule added, leaving the president’s immediate fate still hanging in the balance.