PARLIAMENT - International and local media were kept in suspense on Thursday after MPs from the African National Congress (ANC) emerged from a caucus meeting with no word on if or when the President Jacob Zuma will step down.
The caucus meeting was addressed by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa as well as other members of the party's new top six leadership elected in December.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule held an impromptu media briefing, telling journalists that the purpose of the meeting was to meet and greet and to ensure that MPs would deliver on the party's mandate spelled out in resolutions adopted at its December conference.
The question of whether Zuma will remain president did not come up.
"The president of the ANC (Ramaphosa) released a statement yesterday [Wednesday] and we have also released a statement to say that there are constructive and fruitful discussions between President Zuma and president Ramaphosa and, in due course, we will know how those discussions are going," said Magashule.
MPs, including members of Zuma's cabinet, hugged and kissed each other as they emerged from the caucus meeting, many seeing each other for the first time this year.
They would have been part of the pomp and ceremony associated with the State of the Nation Address that was meant to have taken place on Thursday. On Tuesday, Parliament's presiding officers announced that the event, which marks the official opening of the legislature for 2018, had been cancelled amid the uncertainty over who would lead the country.
On Wednesday, Ramaphosa released a statement saying he was continuing to talk with Zuma about his future.
African News Agency