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Zuma’s future to be known in coming days

South Africa President Jacob Zuma (right) and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo/COURTESY

Cape Town, Wednesday

South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said today he expected that the future of embattled leader Jacob Zuma would be settled in the “coming days”.

Zuma is under growing pressure to step down in favour of his deputy and African National Congress (ANC) party leader Ramaphosa, with local media suggesting an exit deal is being hammered out.

Ramaphosa said in a statement he had “constructive” talks with Zuma. He added that postponing the ruling ANC party’s emergency talks “will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude our discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in the coming days”.

The presidency today released pictures of the two men sitting together and smiling at a cabinet committee meeting in Cape Town. “The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and the people,” Ramaphosa said.

Zuma’s presidency has been dominated by an economic slowdown, record unemployment and allegations of corruption. He faces several court cases, including action relating to 783 payments he received allegedly linked to an arms deal before he came to power in 2009.

The country faces political uncertainty as scandal-tainted Zuma appeared close to resignation but continued to announce diary engagements despite turmoil in his own party. Zuma is under growing pressure to step down in favour of his deputy and African National Congress (ANC) party leader Cyril Ramaphosa, with local media suggesting an exit deal is being hammered out.

The presidency today released pictures of the two men sitting together and smiling at a cabinet committee meeting in Cape Town. It also said Zuma would officiate at an awards ceremony in the city on Saturday.

Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete told television broadcaster eNCA that Ramaphosa would soon give an update on the expected transition of power. “We can’t pre-empt what is going to happen and therefore we really still have to respect the fact that there are consultations,” she said. — AFP