After two intense meetings with veterans and a heated three-day national executive committee (NEC) meeting that debated the call for President Jacob Zuma to step down, the ANC does not appear to have a clear way forward to deal with its internal turmoil. The issue has been left to the top six officials (who include the person central to the problem) to figure it out. The NEC acceded to a call from the veterans to hold a consultative conference, but decided it would be an extension of the mid-year national policy conference. In that format, it is possible that the Zuma defence squad will treat the veterans as the villains and Zuma as the hero. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.