South Africa's ruling ANC party has voted to "recall" President Jacob Zuma following a drawn-out battle to convince him to step down voluntarily over allegations of corruption.
The African National Congress has tried for weeks to get Zuma, whose term expires next year, to resign and cede the country's leadership either to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was selected in December to replace Zuma as head of the party, or to a caretaker president.
However, it was not immediately clear whether Zuma would relinquish power or try to hang on despite losing the confidence of his party.
Ace Magashule, the party's secretary-general, told reporters that they have not discussed a motion of no confidence against the embattled leader. He added that they are giving Zuma "time and space" to respond — but later clarified that he expects him to respond on Wednesday.
He said that when he met with Zuma to talk about the decision, they had a "cordial" discussion.
Although the ANC can recall Zuma, he would resign to Parliament, or lose a vote of confidence in the chamber — something he's survived several times in the past. Zuma pushed a similar recall against his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, in 2009, but Mbeki did not fight it.
Zuma faces the possible reinstatement of corruption charges in connection with a $2.5 billion arms deal while he was deputy president. He has also been held liable for dipping into public coffers for $20 million in upgrades to his private residence.
Peter Granitz, who is reporting for NPR from Pretoria, tells Morning Edition "There's an impending investigation into wholesale looting at government-owned companies. He and even some of his kids could be caught up in that."
"Many South Africans really want to see Jacob Zuma prosecuted," Granitz says. "If he's no longer president, it's not guaranteed he'll have the government [to] foot his legal bills anymore."
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton says "Being the wily strategist that he is, as well as being a veteran political survivor, Zuma looks as if he's forcing the ANC to do what it doesn't want to do, join the opposition in Parliament in a vote of no confidence or possible impeachment."
"But if it comes to impeachment, Zuma loses all his former president status perks and so on, so he doesn't want that either," Ofeibea says.