President Jacob Zuma is reportedly prepared to risk being impeached from office and lose all his presidential benefits in order to remain in power until the ANC launches its election campaign for the 2019 elections, according to a report.
The Mail & Guardian (M&G) reports that Zuma told senior ANC leaders during a meeting this week at his official residence that he would reject any attempts to remove him from the Union Buildings before next week Thursday’s State of the Nation address (Sona) in parliament.
According to ANC sources the paper spoke to, Zuma also rejected advice from some of his “closest allies”, who apparently pleaded with him to resign, but told them he needed more time to prepare for a smooth transfer of power.
An ANC insider close to Zuma was quoted as saying: “He [Zuma] has made it clear he would not accept any decision influenced by any ‘counter-revolutionaries’, including opposition parties. He said if it meant he should face impeachment and lose all his presidential benefits, he was prepared for that as a matter of principle.”
The source said Zuma was willing to step down from office, however, not now.
“He said it [Zuma’s resignation] will happen before the party launches its election campaign for the 2019 elections.”
This week, the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) resolved that the party’s top six officials should meet with Zuma and persuade him to step down as a matter of urgency in order for the ANC to gain back lost support from the electorate ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Four NWC members told the M&G that there was general consensus that Zuma needed to resign. While one NWC member who supports ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said their main concerns during the NWC meeting was the upcoming Sona and that they wanted Zuma to resign voluntarily.