Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

South Africa marks 28 years of Mandela's prison release

South Africa marks 28 years of Mandela's prison release

Zuma has overseen a tumultuous nine years in power marked by economic decline and numerous allegations of corruption.

Mandla Mandela, the former president's grandson who attended the rally, said the ANC's unity had to be preserved through the transition.

In 2009, just two weeks before Zuma led the African National Congress to victory at the polls, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped an eight-year-old corruption case against him.

"As the leadership of the African National Congress, we are now engaged in discussions around the transition to a new administration and specifically to resolve the issues of the position of the President of the Republic", he said.

"We leave this church well armed with the good blessings and prayer ... so as the leadership of the ANC we have been well empowered as we move ahead... and as we manage this transition", Ramaphosa told reporters. "We know that this matter needs to be finalised, we know you want closure".

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President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed on Sunday that the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) will soon finalize talks on President Jacob Zuma's future.

The ANC called off a special meeting of its executive body to discuss Zuma's future scheduled for last Wednesday.

The stalemate over Zuma's departure has left South Africa in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled last week including Thursday's State of the Nation address to parliament.

Analysts say the uncertainty and delay are damaging the ANC. The warn that South Africans are losing hope and that the uncertainty is creating space for "opportunistic elements" to step in, "solely to topple the ANC from power".

Despite intense negotiations between the party's top brass, an energised Ramaphosa will later on Sunday speak at the party's launch where he is expected to be joined by senior members of the party in the province.

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Ramaphosa has said he wants the president, who faces 18 counts of corruption mainly relating to an arms deal almost 20 years ago, to have a "dignified" exit and told MPs last week that he has ruled out any formal amnesty or impunity. Ramaphosa also led South Africa's delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month, mixing with heads of state and trying to assure investors that the country is emerging from the turmoil that briefly sent it into recession past year. Ramaphosa would become president, in accordance with the constitution.

Although Zuma's term ends next year, his legal woes have made his continued leadership unacceptable to the new ANC, which faces perhaps the toughest election challenge since democracy in 1994.

The ANC has weathered such crises before.

It was his first speech as free man, and a key moment in South Africa's modern re-birth as apartheid white-minority rule crumbled.

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