African National Congress (ANC) leader and South Africa deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Sunday revealed at the launch of the Mandela centenary celebrations in Cape Town that he was employing the late statesman's strategy of being "careful" when dealing with hard matters. It is Madiba's example that should inform our approach to the tasks that we must undertake.
"We should handle these discussions that are now under way with care and objective, ensuring that we put the interests of South Africans first", he said.
"Zuma is increasingly isolated but the ANC's apparent reluctance to resort to parliamentary procedures to get rid of him and rather negotiate his exit appears to be playing into his hands", said Mike Davies, the founder of political-advisory company Kigoda Consulting.
St George's Cathedral was at the forefront of the anti-apartheid struggle and during a Christmas mass service a year ago its Archbishop Thabo Makgoba called on the new ANC leadership to act "quickly and decisively" to replace Zuma as head of state.
Outside the church Ramaphosa told a throng of awaiting journalists: "They were praying for us and they were praying that we should have wisdom, have total commitment to the people of South Africa and that is what we were praying for".
"The reason why there is no resolution at the moment is because the ANC is deeply divided", Ben Turok, a former ANC lawmaker, said by phone from Cape Town.
The party's National Executive Committee has the power to instruct Zuma to resign.
He stressed the importance of managing the discussions with goal.
But Ramaphosa put paid to all the claims when he declared: "It is the interests of you, our people, that must be put first, and not the interests of anyone else". The two have quarreled in recent months, with Ramaphosa publicly criticizing Zuma's decision past year to fire his respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his failure to tackle corruption.
"Comrades, we know that this matter to be finalised, we know you want closure", he said.
Several thousand ANC supporters wearing the party's signature yellow, green and black colours attended the rally at the symbolic Grand Parade in central Cape Town.
Ramaphosa said the ANC would continue Mandela's legacy by fighting corruption.
"We will continue to resist any and all attempts to capture our state institutions for the self-enrichment of a few".
Ramaphosa was due to have his "take-it-or-leave it" meeting with Zuma alone.
"We are determined to rebuild the confidence of our people in public institutions and restore the credibility of those elected to serve them". This is South Africa for us.
Mantashe said ANC officials would meet on Saturday to discuss the transition, but Zuma will not be part of the meeting.