Zuma's surprise announcement on Tuesday, that he would establish a commission of inquiry into state capture, was understood to be a preemptive strike at those who wanted to use his lack of movement on the subject as grounds for his removal on Wednesday.
"The matter can not wait any longer", he said, adding: "I have made a decision to appoint a commission of inquiry".
On December 29, South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that the parliament had failed in its constitutional obligation to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for illegal expenditure of public money on his private compound, Nkandla.
While pundits and media speculated that Zuma's removal from office might have been on the agenda at the NEC meeting, newly elected secretary-general Ace Magashule denied this, saying the inaugural meeting of the new NEC was only concerned with party president, Cyril Ramaphosa's January 8 statement.
"For Ramaphosa to build on the momentum of his ascendancy to ANC president and boost investor confidence, he will only have a relatively short window to remove Zuma", said Mike Davies, the founder of political-advisory company Kigoda Consulting. Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, selected by the chief justice will head the commission, Zuma said in the statement.More news: Hoda Kotb's only earning a quarter of Matt Lauer's salary
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South Africa's rand weakened on Monday, succumbing to a resurgent dollar and some profit-taking after seven weeks of gains sparked by leadership changes in the ruling party and a rally in global commodity prices. "His hand has been forced", said Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, reported ABC News.
Mr Zuma has been accused of conspiring with a wealthy business family, the Guptas, to control lucrative state contracts.
Ramaphosa was said to be negotiating Zuma's resignation as head of state.
"Attacks on President Jacob Zuma have never been attacks on him as an individual, but they are particularly driven by the intention to divide the African National Congress".