Decision on President Jacob Zuma will be taken in due course: Magashule

The SONA drinking game (unofficial)

The SONA drinking game (unofficial)

South Africans were facing political uncertainty yesterday after the ruling ANC party cancelled a meeting that could have removed embattled President Jacob Zuma from office.

The ANC also wants him out of the picture to ensure his pending legal woes do not negatively affect the party's standing with voters in the run-up to next year's general election.

An urgent Wednesday evening meeting of the party's top leadership - which has the power to unseat Zuma - has been pushed back to 17 February.

"These reports are false and the intention behind them is to negatively disturb the fruitful and constructive engagement between the president of the ANC and the president of the country around the question of transition", the statement said.

Journalists from around the world - waited for hours at South Africa's Parliament in Cape Town - expecting to be addressed by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa. Hence yesterday we said from point-of-view, works continues.

Ramaphosa and his backers say the process of removing Zuma should be allowed to run its course.

Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete said that the address had been delayed because there was "little likelihood" that it would be held without disruption.

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

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Mashatile was part of a group of the ANC's top six most powerful officials who met Zuma late on Sunday at his official residence in Pretoria in a bid to convince him to resign.

If the committee agrees to recall Mr Zuma, the BBC's Andrew Harding says, it would be very hard for him to resist.

Asked about the ongoing talks surrounding Zuma, ANC spokeswoman Khusela Diko said: "There is no crisis within the ANC, we are used to robust discussions".

The delay heightened speculation that Mr Zuma could finally yield to calls to step down. With a factional divide in the ANC, this vote on the presidents future has a higher probability than previous votes have had in terms of resulting in his removal.

"It's a routine meeting of cabinet committees, there is no special cabinet meeting going on", said Ngqulunga.

While Ramaphosa, 65, retains the upper hand in the power struggle, he has a limited window of opportunity to act decisively against Zuma, according to Ongama Mtimka, a political science lecturer at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. This was in the context of threatened disruptions by opposition parties should it be addressed by Zuma.

Zuma will meet Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini at 1200 GMT on Monday at the king's residence in Ulundi in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, said Prince Thulani Zulu, a spokesman for the Zulu royal household.

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