Top ANC Officials Cancel Events as Zuma Exit Talks Intensify

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He was speaking at the launch of the ANC's celebration of the 28 years since former president Nelson Mandela was released from the Victor Verster prison in Cape Town.

Zuma, 75, has not said whether he will resign voluntarily before his second term as president ends in the middle of next year. The two have quarrelled in recent months, with Ramaphosa publicly criticising Zuma's decision a year ago to fire his respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his failure to tackle corruption.

Addressing an ANC rally in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, Gwede Mantashe said ANC officials should be fearless and must be able to make hard decisions, but leaders had a duty to "analyze and mitigate risks". "It is important that we manage the discussions now underway with care and goal, ensuring that we put the interests of South Africa first".

Ziyanda Peter, a 33-year-old unemployed mother of four from Langa township in Cape Town, is looking to Ramaphosa to rebuild the ANC and revive the hope that South Africans had for a better future when Mandela led the country.

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The Democratic Alliance said on Thursday it would push for a scheduled motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be brought forward should the ruling ANC fail to have negotiated him out of power by Sunday. "The National Executive Committee will be doing precisely that".

"For him a necessary condition for the unity of South African people was the unity of the African National Congress". "We must keep our eyes on what is in the interests of all our people".

He said Ramaphosa had returned Gauteng province, where the ANC's headquarters is located in the country's commercial capital Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa also used the occasion to call on South Africans to reflect on the things that had gone wrong in the past and to make sure they do not happen again.

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The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will this year launch a set of commemorative South African banknotes in honour of what would have been Nelson Mandela's centenary.

His comments follow news earlier on Sunday that the ANC NEC has been summoned to an urgent meeting in Pretoria on Monday.

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.

He also saluted "such freedom fighters as Sheik Yusuf, Dr Abdullah Abdurahman, Cissy Gool, Alex La Guma, ZR Mahabane, Oscar Mpetha, Philip Kgosana, Ray Alexander, Dora Tamana, John Mtini, Reg September, Dullah Omar, Ben Turok, Annie Silinga, Essa Moosa, Johnny Issel, Jakes Gerwel, Archie Sibeko, Ashley Kriel and many others who were drawn from Cape Town".

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