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Rival of South Africa's embattled Zuma wants 'new beginning' as ouster looms

12 February 2018, 12:34 | Pamela Mathis

President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town South Africa in this Nov. 2 2017 file

President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town South Africa in this Nov. 2 2017 file

It said the leaders, who have participated in discussions on Zuma's exit, dropped out because of "various other commitments".

He has faced criticism for previously keeping a low profile on the issue for much of his time as Zuma's deputy, though supporters say he was biding his time and planned to engineer changes from within the government and ruling party.

Talks about a transition of power are due to be concluded within a matter of days, Ramaphosa said in a statement on Wednesday.

At the same time, the ANC has announced that party President Cyril Ramaphosa won't be speaking at any party events in the run-up to the anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old lawyer and one of the richest black South Africans, has pledged to revive the flagging economy and clamp down on the corruption that has become synonymous with the Zuma era. Speculation is swirling in the absence of any information about the talks; some wonder whether Zuma is pushing for immunity from prosecution in exchange for his resignation.

Ramaphosa addressed the issue of transition in Cape Town on Sunday afternoon, where the party launched its centennial celebrations in honour of the late former president Nelson Mandela.

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The occasion of Ramaphosa's speech was heavy with symbolism because he spoke from the same balcony where Mandela spoke on February 11, 1990, after he was released from prison by the white minority government of the time. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die, " said Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of 95. He became president in 2009 and has been enmeshed in scandals, including multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home and the alleged looting of state enterprises by his associates.

He also said Zuma must be charged and answer for himself. Newly published regulations will allow the inquiry's head, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, to collect evidence and summon witnesses to testify, the justice ministry said.

Zuma has not said whether he will resign voluntarily before his second term as president ends in the middle of next year.

Zuma's nine-year tenure has been marred by a succession of scandals, which have slashed support for the ANC and cost it control of Johannesburg, the economic hub, and several other cities in a 2016 municipal vote.

President Jacob Zuma's wife Tobeka Madiba-Zuma whose husband's future in the Presidency is uncertain, yesterday finally broke her silence, warning that all hell was about to break loose.

Bongani Ngqulunga, Zuma's spokesman, said he was in a meeting and couldn't immediately comment.



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