Zuma’s Exit! As It Happened…
His adversaries are closing in, and Zuma may very well be on his way out! We’ve got the play-by play. Zuma Exit! As It Happened…
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His adversaries are closing in, and Zuma may very well be on his way out! We’ve got the play-by play. Zuma Exit! As It Happened…
February 13th, 2018 by Jason Snyman
Marathon meetings, scramblings and sleepless nights. Finally, though, Jacob Zuma may not be the President of South Africa for much longer. We bring it to you, as it happened…
Monday afternoon, the SABC News was the first to report that a deal had been struck. Zuma had agreed to be recalled. These reports were unverified, however. Minutes turned into eternity. Suspense gripped the country, as, for the first time since the dawn of DStv, everybody tuned in to SABC2 for the news.
The Presidency then informed News 24 that the SABC report was untrue.
We sat, waiting, refreshing our browser every second. We put our champagne on ice. All across social media, calls rang out for those waiting in anticipation to remain calm and stay woke. The skeptical among us settled down for what we knew to be a long night of “breaking news” and “sources inside of the ANC…”
An NEC member couldn’t go to the bathroom or pick their nose without it making national headlines. In the meanwhile, parliament released the following statement regarding the EFF’s request to have the motion of no confidence moved up:
We kept a weather-eye on the Rand, watching it go up and down faster than a fiddler’s elbow. Pandemonium on Twitter as reports flooded in that – *gasp* – cars were leaving the meeting location.
Come 20:00 and still no news on the fate of uBaba kaDuduzane. South Africa had grown impatient. They compared it to trying to end a relationship over the phone and the other person saying ‘let me come over so that we can talk about it.’
20:30, Capetonians hear the sound of thunder for the first time in 3 years. Surely, they say, this must be a sign. For a brief moment, panic ensues as Des Van Rooyen begins to trend.
Turns out he’s just corrupt. No news there.
By 22:30, we had begun to wonder if Zuma-Sympathizers had taken the committee hostage. Even more ridiculous demands would surely follow. Shortly after, Ramaphosa’s motorcade was seen leaving the premises, like in a scene from 2 Fast 2 Furious.
No other NEC members had moved. According to reports, Ramaphosa and Ace Magashule had left to deliver the NEC’s message to President Zuma, in person. We presumed that he would pretend to be asleep and leave them to lay on the intercom buzzer until morning.
As rumours begin to circulate of Zuma’s conditional surrender, the collective South Africa had turned to the Twitter of Julius Malema. Come on, bra Julius. Give us anything. Even a one-liner.
Yeeees! News24 then reported that it had ‘reliably learned that the ANC’s NEC has given President Jacob Zuma a final opportunity to resign or be recalled.’ Two sources had confirmed that Zuma will have 48 hours to step down, or be fired.
In unrelated news, we also heard that our Minister of Police, Fikilie Mbalula has changed his Twitter handle.
Positively charmed. Zuma-Sympathizers beg the question, how can we recall a 75-year old President at 23:30? Let Msholozi sleep and recall him at 6am. It turns out to be the most drawn-out transition period in history. All because of one man.
A little before midnight, Ramaphosa’s motorcade had left the presidential residence, back en route to the NEC, who were presumably still locked in the room. Two minutes later they had Tokyo Drifted back into Irene. Could it be? Could we see the Teflon President reshuffled at midnight?
No such luck. Exhausted South Africans had retired to bed. Hoping, praying that the sound of vuvuzela’s would wake them with the good news – that Zuma was no more. The ‘meeting’, now, had lasted longer than Des Van Rooyen did as our Minister of Finance.
By 1:00, numerous reports had come in that, indeed, Zuma had been given 48 hours to resign. Ramaphosa had delivered the message: resign, or be recalled. Zuma had apparently refused, reportedly saying to them, ‘do what you want to do.’
Or, ‘Dala what you must!’
In 48 hours, the country could be sold. Still no official word from the ANC / NEC.
13 hours later, the NEC meeting had concluded, with the ANC issuing the following media alert:
News came early on Tuesday morning that Ramapostponer had struck again, postponing the Media Briefing until 14:00. As the nation waited to receive some form of an answer from the ANC, our attentions turned to the opposition parties who were now pressing Speaker Baleka Mbete on the motion of no confidence.
The EFF had given her until 13:00 to respond before taking court action.
A little after 10:00, the Chief Whips had been called to a parliament meeting scheduled for the following day, Wednesday 14 February, at 08:00.
“In light of recent developments.”
Following that, the ANC caucus was scheduled to meet at 10:00.
Back to Zuma, Ace Magashule was spotted leaving the official presidential residence a little before 11:00. Magashule and Jessie Duarte had reportedly hand-delivered a recall letter from the ANC, directly into Zuma’s hands.
As speculation began to soar, Zuma left the entire country’s WhatsApp messages on ‘read.’ If your phone goes straight to voicemail, they can’t recall you.
Surely, we would receive some kind of a response any moment now.
A little before 13:00, News24 reported that cars bearing the Presidential Seal were seen leaving Zuma’s P-Town residence. Who was actually occupying the vehicles is anybody’s guess…
As South Africa waited for 14:00, President Butternut/Showerhead/uBaba kaDuduzane/Zuma passed into the annals of History. He became known, from that day forward, as the first President to make white people protest.
Leading up to the ANC briefing, the room at Luthuli House had become packed to the rafters. Local and international media were present, some of them even sitting on the floor.
At 14:00, Secretary General Ace Magashule took the podium to begin the press conference. He confirmed that the NEC meeting of the night before had been called to discuss the current situation, related to President Zuma.
Zuma had agreed in principle to step down, but proposed a 3-6 month ‘handover’ period. The NEC, realizing that the people of South Africa were on the verge of a full-blown panic attack, decided that urgent action was needed, instead. This, they reckoned, was the only way to restore integrity.
The NEC rejected the President’s proposal for more time, and the decision was then taken to recall Jacob Zuma.
Magashule said that while the ANC was trying to handle the matter with dignity, opposition parties were being ‘opportunistic’ when pushing for the motion of no confidence to be carried forward.
Zuma had not been given a specific deadline to respond, but according to the SG, was expected to issue a hastily scribbled statement the following day. He confirmed that the ANC / NEC had not discussed a motion of no confidence, as one had already been tabled by the EFF.
With no actual deadline, the nation fully expected Zuma to take around 3-6 months to respond.
Magashule went on to confirm that should Zuma be removed, the President of the ANC, Ramaphosa, would be the natural candidate to take his place.
A clearly wounded SG informed the media that, yes, there is always room for negotiation, but the NEC’s decision to recall Zuma was absolutely Final. He further stated that should the (postponed) State of the Nation address go forward, it will no doubt be delivered by Cyril Ramaphosa.
Say what you will about the ANC, but they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They had made yet another fine mess of things. And so, the people of South Africa waited, once again. Valentines Day of 2018 would determine whether Msholozi would continue to goloza or not.
Early morning reports had begun to flood in. The net around the Gupta family was tightening.
Back to the related matter at hand, President Zuma had apparently scheduled a press briefing for 10:00 on Wednesday, but a variety of different sources were saying otherwise.
The Presidency itself denied this…
Hey, Presidency… That’s funny, because here we seem to have a request to the SAPS permit office to allow media to set up on the premises. A request which was then withdrawn at 22:26 on Tuesday night. Very naaaaaice.
And suddenly, out of nowhere, Malusi Gigaba – in the most transparent attempt to save his own skin – stepped up to declare that if Zuma wouldn’t resign, he would support the ANC recall.
Nice one, Minister of Instagram… Gigaba changes his mind more frequently than he changes the filters on his profile picture. We see you.
By 10:15, the faint sound of overworked paper-shredders could still be heard coming from a back office in the Union Buildings. Still no sign of Zuma, though. Nervous, camped-out journalists had begun to phone around. Checking if any flights had been booked to Dubai.
Shortly after 11:00, the ANC caucus meeting had begun, with the EFF issuing the following statement:
The caucus meeting had ended. Treasurer General Paul Mashatile confirmed in the press conference which followed that, indeed, the deadline for Zuma to resign was Wednesday, 14 February. ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu, then went on to say that the ANC would push for the EFF’s motion of no confidence to be voted on the very next day.
TimesLive reported: “According to insiders‚ National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete would schedule the Economic Freedom Fighters’ motion of no confidence for Thursday afternoon. The motion would then be amended by the ANC from the floor.”
Speaking at the post-caucus meeting press briefing, Mthembu stated that the ANC would like for Ramaphosa to be elected as the new president right after removing Zuma. And so, a deadline and the stage had been set for Zuma’s long-awaited demise.
In order to make sure the likes of Gigaba and Bathabile and Muthambi wouldn’t vote against the motion on Thursday, Speaker Mbete declared it an Open Ballot. Now the real inyoka would come out.
Anybody remember who removed Julius Malema as the ANC Youth League leader?
In an extraordinary moment of South African history, all political parties had finally united. Against one rogue president. Should it come to a vote in the motion of no confidence, and should Zuma be removed, the entire cabinet will be forced to resign.
The new cabinet will be comprised of new ministers. This includes the Minister of Finance. And so, the following Wednesday’s budget speech would be delivered by a new Minister of Finance, and not the Minister of Instagram, Gigaba.
Shortly after 14:00, the man himself appeared in a surprise briefing via SABC News. The soon-to-be-ex-president, clearly in need of a glass of water, spent nearly an hour treating us to some Meandos.
He cleared his throat every 3 seconds like a man allergic to his own lies and at one point, even spat on live television.
— Bevan Cullinan (@BevanCullinan) February 14, 2018
Pure, pure class.
In a long-winded, one-sided ‘interview’ Zuma explained that the ANC had not given him any reason to resign. He vehemently denied that there were two centres of power in the ANC, and that if there were, it had never been a problem before.
Making a rare, surprisingly coherent point, Zuma asked; ‘What is this hurry? What are you rushing for?’
These questions had also been posed by opposition party DA, who found it odd that the ANC would so suddenly be interested in signing Zuma’s marching papers. Throughout the ramble, Zuma remained adamant that he was not defying the ruling party. He only wanted the reasons for the ANC wanting him to tender his immediate resignation.
We can think of 783 reasons…
It soon became glaringly obvious that Msholozi wasn’t about to resign. As it stood, the matter would have to go to parliament, where the vultures would be waiting. The schedule for the coming week would be tighter than February’s budget.
As Zuma’s pop-up briefing came to an end, he informed the nation that he would be making a formal statement later today. Will he resign? Won’t he? We’d have to wait and see, once again.
In the meanwhile, the ANC issued a notice saying that they would respond after President Angazi’s formal statement.
We are reminded of Muammar Gadaffi‘s final words, as he lay begging for mercy.
“What have I done to you?”
After waiting in anticipation all day, the announcement had finally come in. Zuma would address the nation at 22:00 on Wednesday night.
Agent of chaos that he is, Zuma would be interrupting both the Real Madrid vs PSG and the Liverpool vs Porto games. Can a nation not rest, uBaba?
The people had begun to speculate… We would either get a defiant Zuma, who would ‘bring out the files’ and take everybody involved in a decade of corruption and state capture down with him… Or, we would get more of the same that we had experienced in the afternoon.
The countdown had begun.
At 23:00 on Wednesday, 14 February 2018, South Africa went into remission.
With just a little more than an hour left before the deadline lapsed, Jacob Zuma resigned as President of the Republic. With immediate effect.
Perhaps parliament ran the risk of – what the Twittersphere calls it – getting too lit on Thursday, and Zuma had no choice but to save himself from crushing embarrassment. At the end, appearing almost emotional, he was certain to point out that he feared no motion of no confidence, nor impeachment. These are lawful mechanisms for the people of the country to remove their president, and he seemed okay with that.
The violent protests that had occurred outside of the ANC HQ, Luthuli House, just days prior, had disturbed him, he said. He wished that no lives would be lost in his name, nor would the ANC be divided in his name.
And so, South Africa, we can finally breathe. What happens in the following days regarding the dissolution of parliament, the SONA and the swearing in of President Ramaphosa… Well… Stay tuned to your news.
A new chapter has begun. Thank you to our readers for following this thread with us.
Hamba kahle, Msholozi…
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