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South African head of state Jacob Zuma denies he’s thrown in the towel

Staying put: Jacob Zuma is under pressure from the ANC leadership to quit as president a year early PICTURE: REUTERS

SOUTH Africa’s state broadcaster said yesterday Jacob Zuma had agreed to resign as head of state — but the embattled leader’s spokesman later dismissed the report as ‘fake news’.

The rand, which had gained one per cent on expectations Mr Zuma was on his way out, surrendered some of its gains after the rebuttal but remained 0.5 per cent stronger on the day against the dollar.

Outside a meeting of the ANC leadership, SABC correspondent Tshepo Ikaneng said ‘authoritative sources’ had told him 75-year-old Mr Zuma had agreed to step down and formalities on telling the nation were being discussed.

His brief live broadcast was the first report to suggest Mr Zuma might be throwing in the towel after repeated calls from his party to end his scandal-plagued second term a year early.

The meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee in a Pretoria hotel had set the stage for a decisive showdown between Zuma stalwarts and those backing a swift transfer of power to new party leader and current deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa.