Will he stay or will he go? Presidency confirms Ramaphosa will address South Africa 'fairly soon'

But ANC NEC meeting that was called for Thursday evening has been postponed until Friday

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President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation soon. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation soon. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

As South Africa waits anxiously amid the Phala Phala report findings and speculation mounts regarding President Cyril Ramaphosa’s future, the presidency has confirmed he will make an announcement "fairly soon".

His spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, told TimesLIVE “sufficient notice” will be given once the time has been confirmed.

“It will be in the form of a national address. I am not able to commit to a timeline except to say that it will be fairly soon because part of the issue is not to sustain uncertainty and anxiety in the country, but also not to allow a situation where there is a lot of speculation,” Magwenya said.

LISTEN | Phala phala report and its significance

It was not clear if the address would happen on Thursday since the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) meeting which was scheduled for Thursday evening has been postponed until Friday.

The confirmation comes after a report by an independent panel, headed by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, found Ramaphosa may have committed a serious violation of the law and significant misconduct in terms of the constitution.

Ramaphosa has maintained his innocence

Responding to the findings on Wednesday, Magwenya said Ramaphosa was applying his mind to the report and an announcement would be made in due course.

As calls for the president to resign grow, the ANC was expected to hold a NEC meeting on Thursday evening. TimesLIVE reported that acting secretary-general Paul Mashatile called the meeting after Ramaphosa met national ANC officials on Wednesday. But it has since emerged that the meeting has been postponed to 11am on Friday.

At least five top leaders in the president's core caucus told TimesLIVE on Thursday they were opposed to him leaving.

“He indicated on Wednesday, when the report came out, that he would rather resign than drag the ANC through what could possibly come next, including an impeachment.

“While most of us [the pro-Ramaphosa faction] don't believe this report is grounds for him to resign, we accept that ultimately the decision that will come will be in the best interests of the party and the country. The president is a law-abiding leader of integrity,” an NEC member said.

Meanwhile, some of Ramaphosa's allies have started plotting a future without him. TimesLIVE has learnt that while his caucus ponders the way forward, others are looking for a replacement.

“There's an elective conference in two weeks and we can't sit idle. Yes, we want the president to stay and contest. However, if he is leaving ... we can't fold our arms.

“There have been talks of approaching comrade Paul [Mashatile] as he has the most nominations for deputy, but that is still in its infancy. Everything can change, depending on what the president says,” another NEC member said.

TimesLIVE understands that the better part of Thursday was spent trying to convince Ramaphosa to reverse his decision. “He told [finance minister Enoch Godongwana] he wants to leave before he is pushed out.”

Ramaphosa is believed to have confided in his top six colleagues. “Uyahamba [he is going],” another source said, adding: “He wanted to leave in July anyway. It was always his position, he would never be allowed to be recalled.”

“He is not against resigning, but forces are fighting it. I’m told they are engaging him and have advised him against leaving. It has been long coming,” added another ANC insider, saying the president said the matter was putting strain on his family.

“There are two people who have been engaging him, Enoch [Godongwana] and [mineral resources and energy minister] Gwede [Mantashe]. They’ve been discouraging him from leaving. There are also [former presidents] Kgalema [Motlanthe] and Thabo Mbeki to take over in the interim.”


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