South Africa's Ramaphosa says power transfer to be finalized

First lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma

Ramaphosa said he understands South Africans want the country's leadership to resolve its problems and that the national executive committee (NEC) "will be doing precisely that".

"This year we are called upon, all of us, to look at where we have come from and to look at our weaknesses, to look at the challenges we face", Ramaphosa said.

Opposition parties have criticized reports of ongoing private talks between Zuma and Ramaphosa.

Mr. Zuma hasn't publicly commented on the most recent push to remove him.

Zuma, who no longer holds a top position in the party, has not said whether he will resign voluntarily before his second term as president ends in the middle of next year.

"If the president of ANC says wait for me, I am still talking to President Jacob Zuma, there is no need to insult him", Mantashe said. It is Madiba's example that should inform our approach to the tasks that we must undertake.

"We should handle these discussions that are now under way with care and goal, ensuring that we put the interests of South Africans first", he said.

He has faced increasing pressure to quit since December, when Mr Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Speculation is swirling in the absence of any information about the talks; some wonder whether Zuma is pushing for immunity from prosecution in exchange for his resignation. "We must keep our eyes on what is in the interests of all our people".

Ramaphosa said the ANC would continue Mandela's legacy by fighting corruption.

Ramaphosa also used the occasion to praise the Congress of South African Unions (Cosatu) for the role it played in ensuring that the minimum wage is finalised and implemented this year from May 1.

For Piet Zati, an unemployed father of four from Cape Town's Khayelitsha township, a change in power can't happen soon enough.

After missing out on becoming Nelson Mandela's deputy when the anti-apartheid icon swept to power in 1994, Ramaphosa withdrew from politics, switching focus to business.

"We remember the other Rivonia trialists - Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni - who were imprisoned alongside Madiba on Robben Island".

Ramaphosa also lauded the late ANC stalwart Albertina Sisulu, and Archbishop Emeritas Desmond Tutu for their roles as leading lights of the anti-apartheid struggle.

Ramaphosa was at Mandela's side, holding a microphone, when the leader addressed thousands outside Cape Town's city hall on the same day 28 years ago after his release.

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