Published: Mon, February 12, 2018

South Africa's ANC official urges patience during Zuma exit talks

South Africa's ANC official urges patience during Zuma exit talks

South Africans should be patient with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) leader Cyril Ramaphosa as he holds talks with President Jacob Zuma for a transition of power, the party's national chairperson said on Saturday. The Nelson Mandela Foundation this week said the president should resign "sooner rather than later" and the foundation of Nobel laureate and former archbishop Desmond Tutu past year posted a scathing tweet in his name: "We will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepresents us".

Ramaphosa was speaking ahead of Monday's meeting of the NEC, the ANC's highest decision-making body, to continue discussions on Zuma's exit.

The committee could recall the president from office, though he would be under no constitutional obligation to obey the order.

Ramaphosa thanked South Africans for their patience in recent days after attending a church service at Cape Town's Anglican St George's Cathedral on Sunday morning, looking relaxed and allowing parents to take pictures of their children with him.

'We all know and anticipate that they are dealing with the current issue that is facing our country, Faiez Jacobs, the party's provincial secretary, told eNCA television.

Ramaphosa called off a special sitting of the structure scheduled for last Wednesday and subsequently released a statement saying his talks with Zuma had been "constructive". "That is what Nelson Mandela would have wanted".

Holding the microphone for Mandela that day was a young Ramaphosa, then a trade union leader.

On Tuesday, Parliament's presiding officers announced that Thursday's State of the Nation Address had been indefinitely postponed amid fears that it might descend into chaos.

The president continues to have some support, including among the ANC leadership, further complicating negotiations. "We as family we will respect whatever decision is taken by the leaders that are in power at the moment", he said.

Such privileges include a full annual pay of $250,000 for the rest of his life, medical and protection services, among many other perks, plus possibly some legal aid should he face charges related to his time as deputy president under Thabo Mbeki or his two terms as president.

One case relates to 783 payments he allegedly received linked to an arms deal before he came to power.

This increasingly bitter factional struggle is probably more likely than criticism from outside the party to convince the ANC "top six" that Zuma has to go, sooner rather than later. "They need to close this thing early this week".

Without a willing resignation, the caucus would either have to back an opposition vote of no confidence in Zuma - something ANC is keen to avoid - or to impeach him.

The ANC has insisted there will be no delay to the budget, which is on February 21.

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