‘Our people deserve closure’ – Ramaphosa on talks with Zuma

President Jacob Zuma and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Theo Jeptha
President Jacob Zuma and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Theo Jeptha

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has broken his silence over talks between himself and president Jacob Zuma saying that it is business as usual in government as the two iron out matters relating to the “transition”.

In a short statement issued by Ramaphosa, he notes the “anxiety” in the country around the possible resignation or recall of Zuma.

“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,” the statement reads.

“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.”

The meeting between the two came just hours after Parliament announced the postponement of the state of the nation address – the first to happen since 1994 –giving no alternative date.

Reports allege that the powerful national working committee made the call to can the state of the nation address after the top six met Zuma on Sunday evening.

It’s understood that the officials asked Zuma to step down and he refused, saying that the national executive committee should give him his marching orders if they so wished.

A special sitting of the national executive committee was set to take place this evening but was cancelled at the eleventh hour upon Ramaphosa’s request. That sitting would have seen a showdown between supporters of Zuma and Ramaphosa – Zuma’s group had geared up to defend any attempt to remove him.

“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.”

The rand has been holding steady at under R12 to the dollar as markets reacted to the postponement of the state of the nation address, an indication that Zuma’s resignation could happen 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.”

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