Ramaphosa arrives back at NEC meeting

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"It took a brutal 13 hours, but the ANC's national executive committee has made a decision to recall President Jacob Zuma as head of state", the Times newspaper said citing unnamed sourcesOther media reported that the party will write to Zuma ordering him to stand down as president of Africa's most advanced economy, after he had asked for a few more months in office.

The party's national executive committee met Monday to discuss Zuma's future in a meeting which lasted eight hours until the early of hours of Tuesday morning.

Zuma spoke after the ANC announced it's preparing to hold a vote of no confidence in him on Thursday and to elect a new president.

Mr Zuma's presidency has been marred by corruption scandals, slow economic growth and record unemployment.

Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party called the recall an "internal ANC resolution, nothing more".

Sources said they also argued that "everyone in the movement did not agree with a recall".

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A series of financial scandals connecting Mr Zuma and the Gupta brothers, three Indian-born businessmen who moved to South Africa in the 1990s, have badly hurt the ANC's standing over the past few years.

Zuma has been a controversial president since taking office in 2009 and has faced multiple corruption claims and eight no-confidence votes, all of which he has overcome.

As the NEC meeting got under way, opposition parties held a joint press conference in which they outlined their plans to get rid of Mr Zuma if the ANC did not act decisively. He has resisted increasing pressure to quit since December, when Cyril Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ANC. ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told reporters that Zuma had "agreed in principle to resign and had proposed time frames extending from three to six months". "It would draw out this transition period even longer and South Africa would have a longer period of uncertainty about its leadership". Zuma's government defended the renovations - which included installing a new pool, apparently for fire safety reasons.

A year ago the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that he must face 18 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a 1999 arms deal.

In 2016, South Africa's highest court ruled that Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.

The South African rand, which has tended to strengthen on signs Mr Zuma could step down before his second term ends mid next year, extended its gains to 0.7 per cent to the dollar on expectations Mr Zuma was on his way out.