ANC leadership can not agree on whether President Zuma should resign

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Long-term voting trends indicate declining support for the ANC and, as things stand, a divided ANC remains an easy target for opposition parties.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 12.0450 per dollar, not far off its NY close of 12.0650 on Wednesday.

Cyril Ramaphosa sympathised with the "anxiety and concern" felt by many South Africans at the turmoil that has engulfed the leadership of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

"On Sunday evening‚ President Zuma says to us‚ 'What do you guys mean by transition?' He said this is a odd word that you guys have just coined".

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 3.5 basis points to 8.435 percent.

Speaker Baleka Mbete suggested South Africans would get clarity on his fate within hours.

This meeting couldn't set a new date for the State of the Nation Address (SONA), but there was an agreement that the budget speech would definitely go ahead on February 21, regardless of any change in the Presidency.

In recent years his links to the wealthy India-born Gupta family, who are alleged to have influenced the government through their relationship with Zuma, have caused his popularity to plummet.

Pro-opposition Maldives broadcaster shuts over threats
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"We were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don't want two centres of power; we want president Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC‚ but [also] the affairs of the state".

The delay heightened speculation that Mr Zuma could finally yield to calls to step down. "So clearly, the argument is simply aimed at getting rid of President Zuma", says Dr Groenewald.

He told News24 that he had later joined the meeting between Ramaphosa and Zuma.

Despite the attacks on him, Mr Zuma still enjoys some backing within the party, particularly among rural members and within his own Zulu community.

The 75-year-old has been South Africa's most controversial president since the end of white-minority rule in 1994, overseeing a tumultuous nine years marked by economic decline and numerous allegations of corruption.

He faces several court cases, including action relating to 783 payments he received allegedly linked to an arms deal before he came to power in 2009.

The local rand currency, which has been the world's best performing unit since Mr Ramaphosa's election as ANC chief on December 18, was slightly down on the day, recording a fall of 0.2 percent against the dollar at 11.95.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has also urged him to step down.

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Seeking the support of the dominant " Kannadigas ", the PM took a pledge to make Karnataka a Congress-free state. Here (in Karnataka) also they are projecting a Chief Minister candidate (BS Yedduyurappa) who has been to jail".