ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, flanked by his deputy Jessie Duarte, delivers a post-NEC statement following a meeting of national executive committee members over the weekend. PHOTO: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

Johannesburg - Secretary general of the African National Congress (ANC), Ace Magashule, on Monday denied rumours that top officials of the South African ruling party were in talks with President Jacob Zuma to facilitate his stepping down as head of state.

This comes as weekend reports suggested that Zuma was against the wall as some party officials allegedly wanted the National Executive Committee (NEC), which met over the weekend, to recall him as head of state as soon as this week.

According to reports, ANC top six officials, including recently-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa, were negotiating terms for Zuma to step down as he continues to lose grip on the party while law-enforcement agencies are closing in on his friends over corruption allegations and looting of the state under his watch. 

However, on Monday, Magashule maintained that the party was merely talking with Zuma in order to create harmony between his office as head of state and that of Ramaphosa as party president.

"We have noted rumours on social media that the ANC top six is facilitating talks with President Zuma to step down. There is no such thing. This matter is with the officials. There are interactions between comrade Ramaphosa and President Zuma about managing the interaction between Luthuli House and the Union Buildings. There are no timelines as to when these talks with end," Magashule told journalists during a post-NEC media briefing.

"We have not arrived at the point where we say Zuma must go. It is you in the media who say Zuma must go. But you must allow us space to deal with this matter not on your terms."

African News Agency/ANA