Barely an hour after South Africa's ruling ANC announced they would back an opposition-led no confidence vote in parliament, the country's embattled president told the nation that he did not understand why there was such a rush to get rid of him.
South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) said the country can no longer continue waiting for President Jacob Zuma to quit and that it will back an opposition-led no-confidence vote in the country's parliament to oust its former leader.
But barely an hour after the ANC's treasurer general, Paul Mashatile made the announcement, the embattled Zuma broke his silence on Wednesday in a live interview with state broadcaster SABC as the nation awaited word on whether he would obey a ruling party order to leave office.
He said that he did not know why he was being recalled by the party and that he had done nothing wrong.
"I need to be furnished on what I have done. Unfortunately, no one has been able to provide what I have done," he said.
Zuma went further to say that he was being unfairly treated and that party leaders had not followed the right protocol to discipline him.
TRT World's Philip Owira reports.
He accused the party's leadership of spending more time on getting rid of him rather than focusing on implementing the party's policies.
The announcement that the party would back an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion was made at a press conference in Cape Town, by the ANC's treasurer general, Paul Mashatile.
He said that the vote in parliament to remove scandal-tainted Zuma would be held on Thursday and that he expected the party's leader Cyril Ramaphosa to be elected as president.
The motion had been scheduled for February 22, but the ruling party joined opposition leaders in pushing for the date to be moved to this week in a rare show of unity among rival political factions.
“The NEC (National Executive Committee) of ANC has decided to recall president President Zuma and the deadline is today. We have asked the chief whip to proceed with the motion of no confidence tomorrow in parliament so that President Zuma is then removed, so that we can proceed to elect President Ramaphosa as the president of the republic.”
He said it was clear to the ANC that “we can no longer continue waiting”.
He said he hoped that Ramaphosa will be able to deliver the State of the Nation Address before the annual budget speech next week.
Speaking at the same press conference the ANC’s chief whip in parliament, Jackson Mthembu said that the ideal situation would have been for the ANC to present its own motion, but because opposition parties had refused to withdraw their motion, the ANC would seek to make some amendments to the existing motion.
He said it was likely that the motion would be voted on Thursday and that opposition parties had been approached.
Mthembu said that if Zuma were to resign before that, lawmakers would elect a new president immediately.
Mthembu said the country needed certainty that the budget statement could be delivered before the beginning of March.
Early on Wednesday morning South African police raided the family home of businessmen friends Zuma amid a probe into allegations that the family used their links with the president to win state contracts and influence Cabinet appointments.
It is Zuma's relationship with the Gupta family that has been in the spotlight for the better part of two years.
A dozen heavily armed tactical police blocked off a street leading to the Gupta family home in Johannesburg. A police officer told Reuters: "This is a crime scene."
Zuma and the Guptas - a family of wealthy Indian-born businessmen - deny any wrongdoing.
A lawyer for the Gupta family said he could not comment on the raid because he had yet to see the search warrant.
TRT World reporter Lynsey Chutel has more from Johannesburg.
Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said the raid was part of an investigation into allegations of influence peddling in the government. The allegations are also the subject of a judicial inquiry on wider corruption.
"We're viewing this investigation in a very serious light. We're not playing around in terms of making sure that those who are responsible in the so-called state capture, they take responsibility for it," Mulaudzi said.
He declined to give details of what was seized or if the business premises of the Guptas would also be raided, saying a full statement would be released later on Wednesday.
Several people were arrested during police operations, South African media reported.
ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule said the party's national executive was split on when Zuma should step down, although the party expected him to respond to the order by Wednesday.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told CNN late on Tuesday Zuma was expected to address the nation at 0800 GMT on Wednesday.
This, however, did not happen.