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S.Africa’s Zuma holds talks with successor as exit looms

Scandal-tainted South African President Jacob Zuma, who is under growing pressure to resign, held “fruitful” talks on Tuesday with his likely successor Cyril Ramaphosa, the ruling ANC party said.

The ANC said that the talks meant that Wednesday’s special party meeting that could have forced Zuma out of office had been postponed, but it gave no details about any possible resignation deal.

The African National Congress, which has ruled since Nelson Mandela won the post-apartheid 1994 election, has been plunged into chaos over the transition of power from Zuma to his deputy Ramaphosa.

As president, Zuma had been due to deliver the State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday — a closely-watched event that shapes the political agenda for the coming year.

But, in an unprecedented move, the speech was postponed on Tuesday, heightening speculation that Zuma could finally yield to calls to step down.

Many ANC members are pushing for Cyril Ramaphosa, the new head of the party, to replace Zuma, 75, as president immediately.

But Zuma loyalists have said that the serving president should complete his second and final term in office, which would end when elections are held next year.

“After fruitful and constructive discussions… Cyril Ramaphosa has postponed the special NEC (national executive committee) meeting,” the ANC said in a statement.