Zuma briefs family on exit

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President Jacob Zuma is set to convene a family gathering at his Mahlamba Ndlopfu residence in Pretoria this weekend to inform them of his decision to step down as head of state.

“He (Zuma) is meeting with his family in Pretoria this weekend to discuss his exit plan. Depending on the outcome of this meeting, the president is expected to address the nation between this weekend and early next week on his decision.

“In the meantime, he will continue to engage president Ramaphosa to tie up loose ends,” the source said.

Another source, who is close to the discussion, was more specific and said Zuma was expected to announce his decision by Monday.

“He is expected to announce his resignation as early as Monday,” the source said.

News reports that Ramaphosa told the ANC caucus yesterday Zuma was to step down tomorrow and that he was not offered immunity were denied by chief whip Jackson Mthembu.

“While the ANC does not usually comment on caucus discussions because they are confidential internal matters of the ANC, we want to distance ourselves from reports that ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly told caucus that President Zuma will resign on Saturday and that he will not be granted immunity.

“These reports are false and the intention behind them was to negatively affect the fruitful and constructive engagement between the between the president of the ANC and the president of the country around the question of transition,” Mthembu said.

A source in the ANC caucus also confirmed to this publication that neither the issue of immunity nor a date for Zuma’s exit was discussed.

“The deputy president said nothing about immunity, that was not the discussion. The talks with president would take some time, maybe a few days. He (Ramaphosa) called for calm,” the source said. ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told journalists in Parliament yesterday that a decision on Zuma’s fate was imminent.

“The president of the ANC has released a statement to say there is constructive engagement between (him) and Zuma,” he said. When pressed further Magashule was non-committal.

“We can’t determine the time,” he said. Speculation of Zuma’s future continues to mount as the engagements between Zuma and Ramaphosa intensify.

Further fuelling talk about an imminent departure of Zuma was the cancellation of part Ramaphosa’s Mandela Centenary activities in Cape Town from today.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation also announced the postponement of its annual Ubuntu Awards dinner that was to be addressed by Zuma tomorrow evening.

“The president of the ANC, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, will no longer participate in the build up programmes on Friday (today) and Saturday (tomorrow) due to other pressing commitments.”

“Because it is a post-Sona event‚ we can only confirm when the awards will take place once a date for Sona has been set. That is why the awards were postponed,” Dirco spokesperson Clayton Monyela said.

When asked if Zuma would step down as president at the weekend, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said: “No, no.”

Following a meeting between Zuma, Ramaphosa and secretary-general Ace Magashule on Tuesday, the ruling party postponed its special NEC meeting the following day.

This preceded the postponement of the Sona yesterday.

bonolos@thenewage.co.za

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