POLITICS
09/02/2018 18:02 SAST | Updated 09/02/2018 19:26 SAST

Zexit: No 'Shortcuts' In Transition Talks, Sources Say

South Africans will have clarity about President Jacob Zuma's future "within days". We just don't know which day.

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Clarity on President Jacob Zuma's fate is expected "within days", a source with direct knowledge of discussions between Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has told HuffPost SA.

The clock is counting down to Sunday's Mandela commemorative event in Cape Town where Ramaphosa will deliver a speech to mark 28 years after former president Nelson Mandela was released from prison. The speech is regarded as hugely significant because Ramaphosa was part of the committee that organised events after Mandela's release, including the speech on the Grand Parade. Ramaphosa even held the microphone for Mandela when he spoke in almost total darkness. He would like to deliver the speech free from the burden of the Zuma impasse.

WALTER DHALDHLA via Getty Images
Nelson Mandela delivers his first speech as a free man after his release from prison on 11 February 1990. Cyril Ramaphosa, now deputy president, is to right holding the microphone for Mandela, who is waring Winnie Mandela's glasses.

According to sources, Ramaphosa is sticking to process and procedure and there will be "no shortcuts" in the dialogue with Zuma or when finalising any agreement about the head of state's exit from office. Once all parties are satisfied with logistics involved, the ANC's leadership team will report back to the party's working committee and then its executive committee.

This process could take more than 24 hours. Sources indicated it is impossible to say precisely when the process will be finalised.

Another source with access to the Ramaphosa team told HuffPost indications are that "things could get ugly". According to this source, Zuma's approach has hardened. It ties in with a picture and comments posted on Instagram on Friday by Thobeka Madiba-Zuma. She posted a picture of her with Zuma saying, in Zulu, "it's about to get rough", presumably indicating that Zuma is not about to throw in the towel.

South Africans are awaiting any news about changes to the executive with bated breath, with high political drama since last Sunday dominating the news. The ANC's top six leaders cancelled all their scheduled public appearances on Friday and returned to Johannesburg because of "pressing issues".