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JOHANNESBURG. – ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the party’s MPs that he is not negotiating any deal to protect state President Jacob Zuma from prosecution over corruption. This is according to ANC MPs who attended the ANC caucus meeting yesterday where Ramaphosa briefed them on his ongoing transition talks with Zuma.
ANC MPs who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the media on caucus discussions‚ said Ramaphosa told them he was not discussing granting President Zuma immunity from prosecution with Zuma because he simply had no authority to do so.
Sources said Ramaphosa told MPs that any discussion of immunity for Zuma would undermine the authority of government in running its own affairs and could also been seen as political interference in state affairs.
“Cyril said to us that he was not into any deal-making because any deal brokering would amount to political interference in the affairs of the state or the running of government departments. He said he had no legal jurisdiction to do so.
“He said to us that discussions on the transition were about ensuring the unity of the ANC and there was no deal-making‚” said one MP.
Reacting to media reports‚ the DA said it would not “hesitate to approach the courts to stop Ramaphosa” from granting President Zuma immunity from prosecution.
The National Prosecuting Authority is in the coming weeks expected to decide whether or not to reinstate about 783 charges of corruption‚ racketeering and money laundering against President Zuma after he filed fresh representations against the charges last week.
The MPs also said Ramaphosa told them it was “just a matter of days” before his transition talks with country president Jacob Zuma are concluded in his one-and-a-half-hour long address to his first meeting with the party’s caucus since his election in December.
He was also briefing MPs on his ongoing talks with Zuma following a decision by the party’s highest decision-making bodies in between conference‚ the national executive committee and the national working committee‚ to ask him to step down as head of state and head of government.
The caucus sources also said that Ramaphosa explained that he decided to postpone the NEC meeting that was scheduled on Wednesday to seal President Zuma’s fate following a “change of tone” from a defiant Zuma.
President Zuma had told the ANC’s top six officials that he was not ready to resign when they asked him to do so at a meeting on Sunday.
“The president said that he had to postpone the NEC because he received a change in tone from JZ between Sunday and Tuesday when they met‚” said an MP.
Another MP said Ramaphosa assured them that President Zuma would soon be exiting the highest office in the land but did not give a specific date.
“Yes‚ I can confirm that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told us that it is a matter of days before President Jacob Zuma goes. There was nothing specific about when will this take place. That is the only part I heard because I left early.” – Times Live
photo-Cyril Ramaphosa, left, and Jacob Zuma