President Jacob Zuma is "anxious" about his future, and he wants the transition from his government to the next to be handled "carefully", says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He told Zeinab Badawi, presenter of HARDTalk, one of the BBC's flagship programmes, that the South African state had been captured by "corrupt elements" and "people who purported to be close to the president". Ramaphosa, leading the South African delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said the matter is being dealt with through the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.
Badawi told Ramaphosa that the coutnry's growth forecast for 2018 had been cut by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of political uncertainty, and that a simple solution "is to tell Mr. Zuma: 'You must go and you must go now'".
Ramaphosa replied: "A new dawn is on the horizon. We are now in a new era in South Africa, a new leadership . . . this new leadership is just barely a month old and in its position, we are dealing with this matter. Obviously the key matter that everyone wants to see addressed is the tenure that President Zuma still has to serve out.
"Constitutionally, he still has 18 months, and within this 18 months obviously a lot of things can happen. But he and I have agreed we are going to be meeting regularly to discuss matters. By definition this means [that] in the course of this we are also going to discuss the transition; how long is it going to last."
Badawi interjected to ask Ramaphosa how Zuma is feeling and whether he is anxious, to which he replied: "Well obviously, I mean, any normal human being would be anxious – would be concerned about all this. So he is naturally feeling anxious, and he wants matters to be handled in a way, you know... to be handled carefully."
Ramaphosa returns to South Africa on Friday.