The Office of South African President Jacob Zuma is denying reports the embattled president will hold a news conference today Wednesday to announce whether or not he will comply with his party's demand that he resign.
Zuma was expected to respond to a decision Tuesday by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to recall the 75-year-old leader after nine years in office that have been marred by numerous allegations of corruption and economic stagnation. The allegations include charges that he used some $20 million in public funds for improvements at his private estate.
The uncertainly surrounding Zuma's anticipated response comes in the aftermath of an early morning police raid of a wealthy Indian-born family with deep ties to Zuma.
An elite investigative unit dubbed the Hawks carried out the early morning raid on the compound of the wealthy Gupta family in an upscale neighborhood in Johannesburg. Three people were arrested in the raid, including a member of the Gupta family, according to state broadcaster SABC.
The Gupta family has been accused of using their friendship with Zuma to control state appointments and contacts. ANC secretary general Ace Magashule told reporters Wednesday he and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa met with Zuma early Tuesday.
Magashule said Zuma asked for three to six months to complete the job, but said the party felt that was too long, given his sinking approval ratings as critical elections approach next year.
Magashule said the party did not give Zuma a deadline to tender his resignation, but said they expected a quick turnaround. However, Zuma has no legal obligation to resign, and has resisted more than a week of intense pressure from the party.
If he refuses to step down, the matter will go before parliament, which could remove him on a vote of no-confidence. If that happens, Ramaphosa would likely become South African president.
Pressure has mounted on Zuma to quit since Ramaphosa took over as ANC head in December, defeating the president's ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamina-Zuma. A party spokesperson said in a conference yesterday that while the party wants Zuma out urgently, they also want to install Rhamaphosa as president.
South Africans took social media to voice opinions for and against Zuma under the hashtag #Zumaexit with some wondering who is currently running the country.
The BBC reported today that a cabinet meeting that was scheduled for today and supposed to be chaired by Zuma has been postponed because of the unfoldings within the government.