South African rand steady, all eyes on Zuma exit talks

09 February 2018, 03:29 | Santos Harmon

The SONA drinking game (unofficial)

Postponement of SONA a victory for Ramaphosa – Pieter Groenewald

South Africa can not continue to be held in limbo while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zuma and their respective factions continue to fight over the terms of Zuma's exit, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said.

It's the latest twist in the ANC's ongoing attempts to end the debate on the so-called two centres of power, which sees Cyril Ramaphosa lead the party from Luthuli House while Zuma remains president of the country.

Zuma, who became president in 2009, has survived a couple of votes of no-confidence by parliament but his position came under a more powerful threat when Ramaphosa became ANC leader in December previous year.

Earlier, parliament chose to ask Zuma to delay his state-of-the-nation address scheduled for Thursday due to fears of violence, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters outside parliament in Cape Town.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the ANC president assured the nation that the constructive talks process he's started on will offer the greatest opportunity to resolve the uncertainty around Zuma's future without sowing divisions.

Mr Zuma, who spent time in prison for his part in the fight against apartheid, met the ANC's top six on Sunday.

Magashule said the discussions were constructive.

Mr Zuma has repeatedly denied corruption allegations.

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The presidency's office tweeted a photo of Zuma and Ramaphosa laughing together at a Cabinet meeting, in an apparent effort to project an image of close collaboration between the two leaders.

Today 's meeting is a rare gathering as the ANC parliamentary caucus usually does not hold meetings until the delivery of Sona by the president, which also marks the official opening of the legislature.

South Africa's stocks fell on Thursday as the continuing stalemate over President Jacob Zuma's future prevailed.

"We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma's position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters", Ramaphosa added.

On Tuesday, South Africa's parliament took the extraordinary step of postponing Thursday's state of the nation address.

Zuma's presidency has been overshadowed by allegations of corruption. It also said Zuma would officiate at an awards ceremony in the city on Saturday. Ruling party leaders are uncomfortable with the idea of backing an opposition motion, fueling speculation that the ANC will make an internal decision to remove Zuma in the same way that President Thabo Mbeki was ousted in 2008 during his second term.

Ramaphosa and his backers say the process of removing Zuma should be allowed to run its course.

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