South Africa's ruling ANC party leader Cyril Ramaphosa promises the uncertainty surrounding the country's president will come to an end within days.

In this photo supplied by the Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS), South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) with minsters and deputy ministers at a scheduled routine meeting of Cabinet Committees at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. February 7, 2018.
In this photo supplied by the Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS), South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) with minsters and deputy ministers at a scheduled routine meeting of Cabinet Committees at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. February 7, 2018. (AP)

South Africans were promised on Wednesday by the leader of the ruling party that the impasse surrounding President Jacob Zuma would be resolved in the next few days.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the African National Congress (ANC) leader Cyril Ramaphosa said he met Zuma on Tuesday evening.

"Last night President Jacob Zuma and I began direct discussions on the transition and matters relating to his position as the President of the Republic."

The party's highest decision-making body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), had been due to meet on Wednesday to deliberate the future of the scandal-plagued Zuma.

However, Ramaphosa said that the NEC meeting had been cancelled.

"This will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in the coming days."

Zuma was due to deliver the State of the Nation Address at the opening of the country's parliament, but the speaker of the parliament Baleka Mbete announced on Tuesday that the address been cancelled – barely 48 hours before he was due to deliver his address on Thursday.

It is the first time that the State of the Nation address has been postponed since the establishment of a multiparty democracy that brought an end to white minority rule in 1994.

In a statement, the presidency denied claims by the South African Communist Party, a key ally of the ruling party, that Zuma was preparing to fire Ramaphosa as deputy president and replace him with ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Zuma, in power since 2009, has faced growing pressure to resign as president since he was replaced as leader of the ANC in December by Ramaphosa. Zuma's presidency has been dogged by corruption scandals and economic decline.

Both Zuma supporters and opposition groups gathered outside the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday amid heavy police presence.

Zuma has been deserted by prominent allies since Ramaphosa became the leader of the only party to govern South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994. 

Zuma has not said in public whether he will step down voluntarily. But he faces a new confidence-vote in parliament against his leadership on February 22 filed by the opposition far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF).

The EFF has asked Mbete to allow a secret ballot for the vote, a decision which would increase the chances of Zuma losing the vote.

Unlike in August when Zuma survived a no-confidence vote, a significant portion of the ANC now wants him gone. If he loses the vote, his entire cabinet would have to step down.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies