PRETORIA– South African opposition parties are set to hold a meeting with National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete Tuesday to demand that she schedule a debate on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma before he is due to deliver his 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.

Earlier, one of the parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), told the media in Johannesburg that it was considering getting a court interdict to stop Zuma from delivering the SONA on Thursday.

South Africans have mixed reactions to reports that Zuma declined to give in to a request by five of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party’s top six leaders to step down at a meeting on Sunday night.

On Monday, the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the party’s top six leaders meeting at party headquarters, Luthuli House in Johannesburg, to discuss the future of President Jacob Zuma and issued a statement saying the NWC will reconvene on Wednesday to discuss the SONA among other things.

The meeting came after five of the ANC’s top six leaders met Zuma at his Mahlamba Ndlopfu residence in Pretoria Sumday night. Zuma is reported to have declined the leaders’ request for him to step down.

Earlier, pro and anti-Zuma protesters clashed outside Luthuli House. ANC members who were guarding Luthuli House chased away pro-Zuma members of the Black First Land First movement.

Unconfirmed reports say President Zuma refused to step down after meeting five of the ANC’s top six officials.

Led by party deputy president David Mabuza, the leaders held talks with President Zuma at Mahlamba Ndlopfu Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Zuma and party’s top brass couldn’t agree on his exit from the highest office in the land.

The NWC and National Executive Committee (NEC), the ANC’s top decision-making body, both resolved that Zuma should step down. A special NEC meeting is supposedly set for Friday.

The ANC wants to avoid an impeachment process or a motion of no confidence. There’s mounting pressure from opposition and civil organizations for the ANC to recall Zuma as head of state.

In December 2017, Zuma completed his second and final term as ANC president and was succeeded by Deputy President Cyril Ramphosa, who now leads the ruling party but now the State and government.