South Africa's ANC to meet on Monday as Zuma deadlock tightens

Tobeka Madiba-Zuma

A spokesman for Ramaphosa, who also serves as South Africa's deputy president, said the ANC leader no longer had any public engagements yesterday or today. Zuma, whose presidency has been marked by numerous scandals, has stubbornly refused to budge.

Opposition parties have criticized reports of ongoing private talks between Zuma and Ramaphosa.

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. He also promised to tackle corruption.

He said the party's national executive committee (NEC) would at an extraordinary meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon seek to "finalise this matter" and do so in a manner that put first and foremost the interest of the country. "For now, I afford the ANC the opportunity to reflect within its own highest decision-making body, the NEC".

"As we emerge from a period of difficulty, a period of disunity and discord, this Nelson Mandela centenary year offers us what I would call a new beginning", said Ramaphosa, who was Mandela's favoured successor two decades ago. It is Madiba's example that should inform our approach to the tasks that we must undertake.

He has faced increasing pressure to quit since December, when Mr Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

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"The successful resolution of this matter has significant consequences for the country and for the African National Congress".

The ANC's chairperson said on Saturday that South Africans should be patient with Ramaphosa as he holds talks with Zuma for a transition of power. Critics have expressed concern that Zuma may be requesting immunity from prosecution in exchange for his resignation.

Citing people close to the process, City Press has outlined Zuma's conditions for stepping down: "state-guaranteed safety for him and his family, his security being maintained at its current level and for the state to pay his legal fees for current and future matters linked to his tenure in government". We know you want this matter to be finalised.

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

He said Ramaphosa had returned Gauteng province, where the ANC's headquarters is located in the country's commercial capital Johannesburg.

The Sunday Times has learnt that Ramaphosa is trying to secure Zuma's co-operation in the state-capture investigations and has solicited opinions on legal avenues that would allow the president to avoid prosecution or receive a reduced sentence.