Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa says ANC leaders, who are set to meet on Monday, will finalise a power transition from President Jacob Zuma, who faces widespread calls to resign because of corruption scandals.
While the 65-year-old lawyer's rise to the ANC's top post assured him of being its presidential candidate in elections next year, the new leadership wants an early exit for Zuma so it can begin rebuilding support.
"We know you want this matter to be finalised", he told a crowd marking 100 years since the birth of the country's first black president, Nelson Mandela. "The National Executive Committee will be doing precisely that".
Yesterday, News24 reported that five of the top six in the ANC had pulled out of all mass mobilisation events that were planned for Cape Town because officials had been summoned to Gauteng for urgent matters. Politically, however, that case never went away: The opposition vowed not to let the matter drop, and has since used it to illustrate its lack of faith in the president through eight no-confidence votes in relation to his alleged corrupt acts before and during his presidency.
The party has only said that the talks were "constructive".
The ANC called off a special meeting of its executive body to discuss Zuma's future scheduled for last Wednesday after the president and Ramaphosa agreed to hold talks for a transition of power.
"We are now engaged in discussions around the transition to a new administration and specifically the position of the President of the Republic‚" Ramaphosa said.
Zuma has expressed his desire to continue ruling the country until the end of his state presidential term in 2019.
Ramaphosa said he wanted to replace "a period of difficulty, disunity and discord" with "a new beginning" for the party, and he vowed to tackle corruption that has tarnished Zuma's government.
A spokesman for Ramaphosa, who also serves as South Africa's deputy president, said the ANC leader no longer had any public engagements on Friday or Saturday.
Ramaphosa spoke on Sunday at the Grand Parade in Cape Town.
Holding the microphone for Mandela that day was a young Ramaphosa, then a trade union leader. Jailed for 27 years, the anti-apartheid leader addressed an ecstatic crowd from the balcony of Cape Town's City Hall on February 11, 1990 and was elected as South Africa's first black president four years later.
"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".