South African assets rally on reports that President Zuma will step down

He said that as a result of progress in the talks‚ the ANC national executive committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening was postponed.

The ANC confirmed that its national executive committee would discuss preparations for the address and "management of the transition" of power between Mr Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.

Parliament has made a decision to ask Zuma to delay the state-of-the-nation address due to fears of violence, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters outside Parliament Cape Town.

The rand, which has tended to strengthen on signs that Mr Zuma could step down before his second term as president ends next year, was slightly firmer yesterday.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane said Zuma should be prosecuted for alleged corruption, amid speculation that the president might seek an immunity deal in exchange for his resignation.

By the next day the ruling party was not refuting these reports, but instead scrambling to get its national working committee (NWC) to an emergency meeting at Luthuli House where pandaemonium broke outside between ANC and BLF members.

Zuma had led the ANC since 2007 and has been South Africa's president since 2009. Many members of the ruling African National Congress party have turned against him.

"Both President Zuma and myself are aware that our people want and deserve closure‚" Ramaphosa said in the statement. They are said to have failed to convince him to stand aside.

Malema said Zuma told the new party leaders that he has performed his duties, and done everything he was requested to do as state president.

On Wednesday, Zuma called a social media report that Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to visit the country this week "fake news", and denied allegations by opponents that he is preparing to fire Ramaphosa.

But Mr. Ramaphosa has repeatedly said since his election as party leader in December that the transition is a "delicate" matter, and that Mr. Zuma should not be "humiliated".

SONA marks the opening of parliament and political parties will gather and get an opportunity to debate, comment and raise questions on matters addressed in the President's speech during a debate on the President's State of the Nation Address.

Pressure is growing as Zuma is set to deliver a state of the nation address on Thursday. The ANC's also wants to pave the way for Cyril Ramaphosa -anti-apartheid activist, tycoon, and politician- in the 2019 elections.

Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes due to his party's majority in parliament.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the ruling party will settle its disputes behind closed doors.

"Zuma is gone", said Xolani Dube, a political analyst at the Xubera Institute for Research and Development in the port city of Durban.

Scandals swirling around Zuma include multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home with state money and his association with the Guptas, a business family accused of looting state enterprises and influencing Cabinet ministers for their own benefit.

  • Rogelio Becker