Zuma's fate will only be announced in "coming days"

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has sought to clarify the fears surrounding the leadership of South Africa. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has sought to clarify the fears surrounding the leadership of South Africa. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

President Jacob Zuma’s possible removal as head of state will only be announced “in the coming days” – ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement on Wednesday.

Zuma was expected to tender his resignation on Wednesday after reports emerged he had agreed to vacate office during a meeting with Ramaphosa on Tuesday night at his residence in Cape Town.

But, Ramaphosa has extinguished any hope that such an announcement will be made within the next few hours, as previously thought.

“Last night, President Jacob Zuma and I began direct discussions on the transition and matters relating to his position as the President of the Republic,” the statement began.

“The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people.”

“On the basis of the progress made, it was agreed to postpone a special meeting of the ANC National Executive Committee that had been scheduled for later today. This will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude our discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in the coming days,” he said.

Ramaphosa said he is aware for South Africans there is “uncertainty” regarding their head of state, and who will lead the country for the remainder of 2018. The ANC president said his discussions with Zuma will continue until a resolution is reached.

“However, I am certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns, but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country. We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma’s position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters,” the statement read.

Speculation that Zuma’s days are numbered began to spread after the ANC top six held a meeting on Sunday evening. The National Working Committee (NWC) was then called to meet on Monday to discuss Zuma’s fate, taking a resolution that the State of Nation Address (Sona) should be postponed until Zuma resigns.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) was due to meet on Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed after Ramaphosa and Zuma’s discussion on Tuesday evening.

The NEC will now meet on February 17 and 18 and Sona is set to take place in the coming week.

Read Ramaphosa’s full statement below:

Fellow South Africans,There has been a lot of speculation and anxiety about the position of President Jacob Zuma as the head of state and government of our country.

I would like to clarify some matters in this regard.

Last night, President Jacob Zuma and I began direct discussions on the transition and matters relating to his position as the President of the Republic.

The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people.

On the basis of the progress made, it was agreed to postpone a special meeting of the ANC National Executive Committee that had been scheduled for later today. This will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude our discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in the coming days.

I am aware that the uncertainty surrounding the position of the Head of State and Government is a cause for concern among many South Africans. This is understandable.

However, I am certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns, but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country. We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma’s position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters.

While the current situation has necessitated the postponement until further notice of the State of the Nation Address, the work of government and Parliament will continue.

This is a challenging time for our country. Both President Zuma and myself are aware that our people want and deserve closure. The constructive process we have embarked on offers the greatest opportunity to conclude this matter without discord or division.

Throughout this process, I am guided by the principle that the interests and needs of the South African people are paramount.

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