Despite calls for his immediate resignation, and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa's comment that President Jacob Zuma is "anxious" about his future, Zuma will only step down in 2019, says ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
Speaking to City Press, Duarte distanced the party's top six and national executive committee (NEC) from the comments made by Ramaphosa in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum. Saying Zuma was "anxious" about his future was Ramaphosa "probably expressing his own views on the matter, which is fine," she told City Press.
However, at the end of his second term, Duarte said she can "imagine every president... would have a level of anxiety about completing the manifestos to which they were elected".
The most recent briefing from Ramaphosa on Zuma, she said, was that the two would meet once a week to "discuss coordination" between the party and government.
Until [Ramaphosa] tells us differently, the only information we have is what we have been given.
According to City Press, Duarte came to Zuma's defence, saying he'd been made a target and denigrated since becoming deputy president in 2004.
While recognising Zuma had "made mistakes", Duarte said he had not been given proper credit for the National Development Plan as it was his initiative. She also said people in rural areas have "seen the benefits" of a Zuma presidency in the form of roads and access to water.
She added she would stand up for Ramaphosa in a similar fashion when the media decides to take him on.
"We know that, six or seven months down the line, you are going to go for him as well. You are not going to waste much time, you are going to dig up whatever else you can – and it's not objectivity that you seeking, its sensationalism," she said.
For the full interview with City Press, read here.