Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

South Africa's Ramaphosa admits 'disunity' as Zuma fights exit

South Africa's Ramaphosa admits 'disunity' as Zuma fights exit

Ramaphosa was due to give a speech later on Sunday in Cape Town as part of year-long celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of former President Nelson Mandela, but it was unclear whether he would mention Zuma's situation.

He added: "We know you want this matter to be finalised".

Ramaphosa, one of the richest black South Africans, has had a hard relationship with Zuma since he left his business career and returned to full-time politics five years ago, and became deputy president in 2014.

Zuma, in power since 2009 and battling corruption allegations, has been living on borrowed time since Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ruling party in December.

Ramaphosa said he understands South Africans want the country's leadership to resolve its problems and that the national executive committee (NEC) "will be doing precisely that".

The top six leadership of the ANC is scheduled to meet today, during which Ramaphosa will inform them of the outcome of his discussions with Zuma.

"The centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela gives us an opportunity for renewal and rebuilding", Ramaphosa said, noting that the party and the county was emerging from a hard period.

"We leave this church well armed with the good blessings and as the leadership of the ANC we have been well empowered as we move ahead. and as we manage this transition", Ramaphosa told reporters.

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"As the leadership of the African National Congress, we are now engaged in discussions around the transition to a new administration and specifically to resolve the issues of the position of the President of the Republic".

But Ramaphosa put paid to all the claims when he declared: "It is the interests of you, our people, that must be put first, and not the interests of anyone else".

"In defence of Madiba's legacy, we will continue to wage a relentless war on corruption and mismanagement of the resources of our country". "But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die", said Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of 95.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will this year launch a set of commemorative South African banknotes in honour of what would have been Nelson Mandela's centenary.

He then revealed that the NEC meeting "urgently" convened for Monday in Centurion would make the final decision.

The ANC is expected to hold a special party conference in Pretoria on Monday amid mounting pressure for Zuma to step down following numerous corruption scandals that have sparked widespread public anger.

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.

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