File: Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. PHOTO: Courtney Africa/ANA PHOTO

Amidst mounting speculation over the future of SA President Jacob Zuma, following Tuesday’s postponement of the State of the Nation Address (SONA), and the postponement of an ANC NEC meeting, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa have called on South Africans to be patient.

In a statement, released by ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, Ramaphosa acknowledged that he and Zuma had discussions on Tuesday night about “the transition and matters relating to his position as the President of the Republic”.

“The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people,” said Ramaphosa.

Late Tuesday night the ANC announced that the NEC meeting which had been planned for this evening at the Mount Nelson Hotel had been postponed until next week. 

Ramaphosa said the postponement would enable himself and Zuma to conclude their discussions and report back to the ANC and South Africans “in the coming days”.

“I am aware that the uncertainty surrounding the position of the Head of State and Government is a cause for concern among many South Africans. This is understandable. However, I am certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns, but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country."

“We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma’s position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters,” said Ramaphosa.

He said while the impasse had necessitated the postponement, until further notice of SONA, the work of government and Parliament would continue.

“This is a challenging time for our country. Both President Zuma and myself are aware that our people want and deserve closure. The constructive process we have embarked on offers the greatest opportunity to conclude this matter without discord or division,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that throughout the discussions, he was guided by the principle that the interests and the needs of South Africans were paramount.

Read the full statement here:

Fellow South Africans,

There has been a lot of speculation and anxiety about the position of President Jacob Zuma as the head of state and government of our country.

I would like to clarify some matters in this regard.

Last night, President Jacob Zuma and I began direct discussions on the transition and matters relating to his position as the President of the Republic.

The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people.

On the basis of the progress made, it was agreed to postpone a special meeting of the ANC National Executive Committee that had been scheduled for later today. This will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude our discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in the coming days.

I am aware that the uncertainty surrounding the position of the Head of State and Government is a cause for concern among many South Africans. This is understandable. However, I am certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns, but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country. We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma’s position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters.

While the current situation has necessitated the postponement until further notice of the State of the Nation Address, the work of government and Parliament will continue.

This is a challenging time for our country. Both President Zuma and myself are aware that our people want and deserve closure. The constructive process we have embarked on offers the greatest opportunity to conclude this matter without discord or division.

Throughout this process, I am guided by the principle that the interests and needs of the South African people are paramount.

Issued by

Cyril Ramaphosa

President of the African National Congress