A presidential correspondent of South Africa’s SABC state broadcaster reported on Monday that Jacob Zuma had agreed to resign as head of state citing sources, although the embattled leader’s spokesman quickly dismissed it as “fake news”.

Members of the media gather outside a hotel where members of the African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee are meeting to decide the fate of President Jacob Zuma, in Pretoria, South Africa, February 12, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/James Oatway

The rand , which had gained as much as 1 percent on expectations Zuma was on his way out, surrendered some of its gains after the rebuttal from Bongani Ngqulunga, but remained 0.4 percent stronger on the day at 11.95 to the dollar.

Standing outside a meeting of the top leadership of the ruling ANC, SABC correspondent Tshepo Ikaneng cited sources inside the Presidency as saying 75-year-old Zuma had agreed to stand aside after weeks of mounting pressure for him to quit.

He provided no further details in his brief live broadcast, the first reports that Zuma, whose whereabouts are unknown, might be throwing in the towel after repeated calls from his party to end his scandal-plagued second term a year early.

The ANC meeting 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.

Ramaphosa, 65, says he has held direct talks with Zuma over a transfer of power, and said on Sunday the meeting of the party’s executive committee would be aiming on Monday to “finalize” the situation.

The party executive has the authority to “recall” Zuma as head of state, although there is some domestic media speculation that he might try to resist such an order. – Reuters