Cape Town — South Africa's ruling African National Congress will support an opposition motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma in Parliament on Thursday if the president does not resign beforehand.
This was announced by the ANC's chief whip in Parliament, Jackson Mthembu, at a news conference in Parliament on Wednesday.
He said the opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), had refused to withdraw a motion of no confidence it had already tabled, and the ANC was procedurally unable to override the EFF motion with its own.
The ruling party would therefore debate the opposition motion, and move amendments to it from the floor of Parliament.
Mthembu said that if Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was available, the ANC might move to elect party president Cyril Ramaphosa as the country's president later on Thursday or on Friday.
The South African Constitution provides that Parliament elects the country's president.
Later on Wednesday, the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, announced that she had scheduled the debate on the no-confidence motion for 2 pm on Thursday.
In another development, Zuma complained in a live television interview with the public broadcaster that the national executive had not given him reasons for wanting him removed.
He repeated previous statements that he had done nothing wrong. By not resigning he was not defying the party, he said. He simply disagreed with the decision, which was unfair. "I'm being victimised," he added.
His removal was "a very serious matter," he said.
"I think we are being plunged into a crisis that I am sure my comrades, my leaders, will regret because some people may not like this, may feel there is something wrong...
"The leadership of the ANC, if it's not careful, might actually cause a bigger problem than we think."
This report has been updated with new developments since first posted.