Ramaphosa keeps anxious South Africans guessing

President Jacob Zuma leaves parliament in Cape Town South Africa Wednesday Feb 7 2018. Zuma's exit from power because of scandals appears to be getting closer with his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa who is expected to replace him

Postponement of SONA a victory for Ramaphosa – Pieter Groenewald

Getting President Jacob Zuma to go seems to require more patience than some South Africans can muster right now.

Ramaphosa has assured the nation that the constructive process he's embarked on will offer the greatest opportunity to resolve President Zuma's position without creating division.

The ANC's party leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, said in a statement that the formal national executive committee (NEC) meeting has been set for 17 and 18 February.

Nothing is straightforward. And definitely not in an ANC that President Jacob Zuma has had at his beck and call, throughout the Nkandla debacle, the damaging March 2017 midnight cabinet reshuffle that changed the finance portfolio leadership, the #GuptaLeaks revelations about state capture, waning election fortunes and various court challenges, to how his administration does its governance job.

He has faced increasing pressure to quit since December, when Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Addressing investors at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday‚ just hours before Ramaphosa announced the postponement of the NEC meeting that would have decided Zuma's fate‚ Mashatile said Zuma would have been recalled from office if he did not step down.

All that's required would be a good dollop of political will and nerves of steel in what is set to be a terse meeting of the ANC NEC, where factions in favour and against Zuma remain finely balanced, if fluid, in the changing political winds. Many former supporters who have turned against Zuma have anxious that he is digging in or at least trying to make a deal, possibly including immunity from prosecution, in exchange for his resignation.

Zuma has been embroiled in scandals for years, paying back some state money following multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home, being criticized for his association with the Gupta business family accused of looting state enterprises and influencing Cabinet ministers for their own benefit, and now facing the possible reinstatement of corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago.

The ANC said Ramaphosa will still address the #Mandela100 rally on Sunday. "So clearly, the argument is simply aimed at getting rid of President Zuma", says Dr Groenewald.

The best guess here is that Zuma, who is facing multiple corruption charges, may be looking for some sort of legal guarantees - although an amnesty is not an option in South Africa.

Both Zuma and the Guptas deny the allegations.

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