South Africa's Jacob Zuma may give up inside days

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But Ramaphosa said he and Zuma, beset by corruption allegations, would finish their discussions and report in the coming days to the ruling African National Congress party and the population of one of Africa's biggest economies.

"The discussions [on Tuesday night] were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people", Mr Ramaphosa said.

The machinations within the ANC are an ironic recycling of history for Zuma, who engineered the ouster of former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008 shortly after taking over the helm of the ANC.

EFF Secretary-General Godrich Gardee said: "If Mr Zuma has not resigned by Monday at 14h00, it (the motion of no confidence) should actually be debated the following day".

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"The postponement of the SONA also leaves no room for doubt that the sentiment in the ANC is that Mr Cyril Ramaphosa should deliver the address and not President Jacob Zuma".

If the committee agrees to recall Mr Zuma, the BBC's Andrew Harding says, it would be very hard for him to resist.

"We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma's position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters", Ramaphosa said.

Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete said that the address had been delayed because there was "little likelihood" that it would be held without disruption. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing, though the president paid back some money for the home upgrades after the Constitutional Court ruled against him.

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The delay increased speculation that a deal for Zuma to resign had been ironed out.

"We are in a process of removing Zuma, all we are asking for from the ANC is that it looks like this guy has defeated you, leave him to us", Malema said at a media conference.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which promotes the legacy of South Africa's anti-apartheid icon, has called for Mr Zuma to go as he had "demonstrated that he is not fit to govern".

Mr Ramaphosa is now the front runner to succeed him as president.

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Ramaphosa has put the focus on rooting out corruption and revitalising economic growth since defeating Zuma's preferred successor, Zuma's ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the ANC leadership race.