South Africa’s embattled president, Jacob Zuma, defended himself in a live interview Wednesday, saying pressure for him to resign is “unfair” and that he has not been told what he has done wrong.
Speaking to state broadcaster SABC, Zuma said he met with the top six officials of South Africa’s ruling ANC party last weekend and agreed to what he called a delayed resignation.
He said he proposed remaining in office until June. But ANC leaders rejected that plan and have called on Zuma to resign immediately. The party says parliament will hold a no confidence vote against Zuma on Thursday, if the president does not resign immediately.
"We can no longer keep South Africa waiting," ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile told reporters.
ANC party leaders decided this week to recall the 75-year-old leader after nine years in office that have been marred by economic stagnation and numerous allegations of corruption.
The allegations include charges that he allowed the powerful wealthy Gupta family to influence cabinet appointments and that he used some $20 million in public funds for improvements at his private estate.
Zuma is under no legal obligation to resign, however, and has resisted more than a week of intense pressure and negotiations from the party. If the no-confidence vote succeeds, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will be chosen by parliament as South Africa's new president either Thursday or Friday.
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.
Meanwhile, a police investigative unit known as the Hawks has arrested three people in a raid of the Gupta family compound in an upscale neighborhood in Johannesburg. State broadcaster SABC said a member of the Gupta family was among those arrested in the raid Wednesday.
VOA's Anita Powell contributed to this report from Johannesburg.