Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is expected to relent and apologise to the ANC and to President Cyril Ramaphosa but specifically for single-handedly attempting to "suspend" President Cyril Ramaphosa, and not for the actual process of suspending the sitting president.
Sources close to Magashule said the apology might come with some strings attached.
A Magashule aide said on Thursday that the disgruntled secretary-general was set to apologise for his actions to avoid facing disciplinary charges.
It's not clear whether he will do so on Friday, which some believe to be the deadline, or later.
This was corroborated by a second source, close to Magashule, in the Free State.
Another source added that Magashule was stubborn – but, should he fail to apologise, it would "lead to him being charged in terms of Rule 25.70, bringing the ANC into disrepute".
Magashule's deputy, Jessie Duarte, said at a press conference on Tuesday, following the party's national executive committee (NEC) meeting that Magashule was expected to apologise by the end of the week, but there wasn't a clear deadline.
Sources said that, as much as Magashule had come to his senses, he would not go on his knees without "specific" conditions.
A video posted on social media by his supporters late on Thursday, and www.celebgossip.co.za is in possession of, showed a defiant Magashule punching a boxing bag.
SG #acemagashule can punch, considering how heavy that bag is – hitting it bare-knuckles is proof that he @Magashule_Ace can flatten an opponent in the first round 🤣… #Magashule pic.twitter.com/5D4TcQIAlE
— Legal Patners (@LegalPartnersSA) May 13, 2021
It appears to signal that Magashule could be gearing up for another battle against the party's national leadership.
A source close to Magashule said a number of leaders, sympathetic to the secretary-general, had advised that he apologise. The source said:
"Yes, for sure, he'll apologise, but with strings attached."
Duarte said the NEC instructed Magashule to apologise to the ANC community and South Africans.
She said Magashule's letter "suspending a sitting president" would have "repercussions", and that the ANC were getting calls from other countries regarding queries about the letter.
Duarte said a failure by Magashule to publicly apologise and retract the "letter of suspension" would result in disciplinary action.
Magashule was suspended on full pay by the NEC last week after failing to step aside, in line with the party's resolution.
He faces charges of fraud and corruption related to a multimillion-rand asbestos eradication tender from his time as Free State premier.
By Thursday afternoon, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe had not responded to queries about the time frame or whether Magashule had signalled his intention to apologise.
Meanwhile, the Jomo Marumo branch, in Magashule's home town of Tumahole, is planning a branch rally for Saturday. According to the branch memorandum sent to News24, the rally is expected to discuss issues around deepening "the understanding of the political situation in the country and the implementation of ANC policies".
It is also expected to discuss party issues around the "resolutions of the 54th national conference of the ANC, the step-aside resolution/suspension/step aside of the secretary-general, national general council guidelines of the NEC, Free State provincial executive committee status, local government elections and the way forward," the memorandum stated.