South Africa's ruling party could replace Zuma on Thursday

Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma broke his silence for the first time on Wednesday since discussions about his exit began. Either the party does not know - although it has a number of complicated options - or, and most likely, Magashule was being cagey because the ball is still in Zuma's court.

"I hope this does reflect a change of attitude on part of the state to go after the most obvious and egregious forms of organised crime, Eric Pelser of the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria, told Al Jazeera".

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks. "When we took this decision, we didn't take this decision because Jacob Zuma has done anything wrong".

In televised remarks Wednesday, Zuma said the ANC had treated him unfairly and questioned the party's plans to rush him out of office.

The vote-of-no-confidence, requested by opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters, had initially been scheduled for February 22. However, if Zuma refuses to resign he will then face a vote of no confidence in parliament next week. Opposition parties are calling for another vote of no confidence against Zuma next week. The entire Cabinet would have to step down if such a vote went through.

Zuma still commands significant support and respect in the party, as a prominent member of the struggle against apartheid.

Mr Ramaphosa narrowly defeated Mr Zuma's ex-wife and preferred successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the leadership vote, forcing him to tread carefully in handling the President for fear of deepening rifts in the party a year ahead of an election.

The raid, which the state broadcaster said resulted in two arrests including one Gupta family member, came amid reports Zuma was preparing to tell South Africa he was stepping down after nine years in office dogged by scandal and economic stagnation.

Mr. Zuma has been involved in several scandals, one known as Guptagate. Mr Mbeki, unlike Mr Zuma, bowed to the party and quietly left power.

Ramaphosa spent much of last week unsuccessfully trying to negotiate with Zuma on his departure.

Besides his controversial relationship with the Guptas, Zuma has 783 counts of corruption outstanding against him relating to a multi-billion dollar state arms deal in the late 1990s. A confidence vote would be considered a humiliating process for him and the party.

If Zuma was watching the press conference, he might have smiled when Magashule said he wasn't being recalled because of his wrongdoings but because the ANC wanted to appoint Ramaphosa due to society's "uncertainty and anxiety" over its leadership and to create greater political and economic stability.

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