Supporters and detractors of South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday protested outside the ruling party headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday as the embattled leader was reportedly refusing to step down.
Scandal-plagued Zuma has been under increasing pressure to leave office before his term finishes in 2019 but reportedly dug in his heels during talks with African National Congress (ANC) top brass Sunday night.
ANC leaders are holding another emergency meeting Monday, local media said.
South Africa’s opposition parties and factions in the ANC say Zuma should not be allowed to give the annual state of the nation address on Thursday, calling him a lame duck president since the election of reformer Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC leader.
Zuma’s nearly two terms in office have been blighted by hundreds of corruption allegations, but he has so far managed to dodge prosecution.
Radical political party Black First Land First have organized a protest in support of the president under the banner “#HandsOff Zuma.” But another group of ANC supporters had gathered with signs reading “Zuma must fall.”
Former ANC youth leader turned founder of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, tweeted late Sunday after Zuma’s meeting with the ANC top brass that the president was refusing to go.
“He refused to resign and he told them to take a decision to remove him if they so wish to do so because he didn’t do anything wrong to the country,” Malema said.
South Africa’s parliament is scheduled to vote in a no-confidence motion against Zuma on Feb. 22.
Several such motions have failed in the past.