Johannesburg: It’s understood that African National Congress (ANC) leader Cyril Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma are in the final phase of their negotiations around Zuma’s exit plan
The two leaders are scheduled to meet again this weekend to iron out the details of the plan.
These are said to include discussions around Zuma’s current and future legal fees as well as the security of his family.
A special meeting of the top six is also scheduled for this weekend at some point, in a clear sign that Zuma is expected to step down in the next few days.
Ramaphosa is still expected to address a parade in Cape Town on Sunday afternoon, marking the Nelson Mandela centenary while President Zuma is said to be back in Pretoria.
Should President Zuma resign, his seat in the Union Buildings goes to Ramaphosa.
Once sworn in as acting president, Ramaphosa would have all the powers and functions that come with the job.
But the National Assembly would have 30 days to elect a permanent president.
Director of the Centre for Constitutional Rights Phephelaphi Dube says this will not impact Ramaphosa.
“But he can only hold that position for a period of 30 days and within that Parliament has to reconvene and they have to elect a new president.”
Dube says if Ramaphosa’s elected, this won’t count as part of the two-term limit set by the Constitution for the country’s presidents.
“That in terms of the Constitution isn’t regarded as a new term so it leaves this individual free to contest the next two general elections if the National Assembly so desires.”
If Zuma is removed by a motion of no confidence, not only he but Ramaphosa and the entire Cabinet must step down. It is the Speaker who then acts as caretaker president but the same 30-day rule applies to appointing a permanent one.
Earlier on Friday afternoon, one of the president’s wives came out in defence of him.
Thobeka Madiba-Zuma has posted a picture of the couple on Instagram calling Zuma her “everyday crush”.
In the post, she stated that Zuma will finish what he started because he does not take orders beyond the Atlantic Ocean.
She also said, “It’s going to get rough, don’t fight with someone who is not fighting you.”
It’s been another day of speculation around the president’s political future.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says it appears the ANC is unable to speedily expedite Zuma’s exit.
“Each and every day that they do not deliver concrete news about that, expectations keep mounting and we are gradually shutting down the functioning of the country bit by bit.”
The uncertainty over Zuma’s political future has had a ripple effect on a host of events that were due to take place in the week.
The red carpet had already been rolled out to the door of the National Assembly Chamber.
When the State of the Nation Address was put on hold on Tuesday.
That unprecedented announcement set off a spiral of other cancellations as one by one, pre-and post-Sona cocktail events and dinners were rapidly pulled from the events diary.
Traditionally President Zuma kicks back the day after delivering his address with the annual presidential golf challenge.
That event was due to be followed on Friday evening with a fundraising dinner for his nominated charities.
The Ubuntu Awards launched in 2015 to celebrate South Africa’s global ambassadors have also been put on ice for now