Zuma's D-Day nears as Ramaphosa promises power transition

File Sunday marks 28 years since former president Nelson Mandela was released from prison

The rally is part of ANC celebrations marking 100 years since Mandela's birth, as Ramaphosa tries to revive the party's tarnished reputation.

The decision follows talks between the ANC's top six officials and Zuma on Saturday night to discuss the transition of power, said the people, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

For the past week, Ramaphosa has been bargaining with Zuma to resign from office as his continued stay as head of state would allegedly affect the party brand and could cost them votes in the 2019 general election.

The statement, issued by Regional Secretary Scara Njadayi, cautiously starts on the subject of "the management of the Transition (Possible stepping aside of the State President)" and expresses appreciation for the efforts of the party's national executive as well as party president Cyril Ramaphosa "with regard to President Jacob Zuma, the State President on a possible transition and the management of the process of him stepping down". Analysts have said Zuma, a deft political operator, and his deputy, a key negotiator during the end of apartheid, likely are discussing the terms of the president's exit. It said the leaders, who have participated in discussions on Zuma's exit, dropped out because of "various other commitments".

He said Madiba's example should inform their approach to the tasks that they must undertake.

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

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Reliable ANC sources earlier confirmed that the negotiations with Zuma concerned "cosmetic" issues like the payment of his legal fees after leaving office and security for him and his family. However, he said it is important that these discussions are managed with "care and purpose".

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". The warn that South Africans are losing hope and that the uncertainty is creating space for "opportunistic elements" to step in, "solely to topple the ANC from power".

Before Ramaphosa spoke, representatives from Cosatu and the SACP delivered messages of support to the ANC and called for Zuma's removal.

"In defence of Madiba's legacy, we will continue to wage a relentless war on corruption and mismanagement of the resources of our country", said Ramaphosa.

She also cautions against "picking a fight with someone who is not fighting you".

The ANC national executive committee (NEC), which is the highest decision-making body in the party, was due to take a final decision on Zuma's future on Wednesday, but Ramaphosa dramatically cancelled the NEC meeting this week after what he called a "constructive and fruitful" meeting with Zuma on Tuesday.

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