JOHANNESBURG– The Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s biggest opposition party, has threatened to approach the courts should African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa offer the country’s Head of State immunity from prosecution on corruption charges if he resigns.

The DA said in a statement here Thursday that it was not a stretch of the imagination to speculate that a deal for immunity was at the centre of talks between Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma over the latter’s future.

Should Ramaphosa choose to offer or purport to grant Zuma immunity from prosecution, the DA will not hesitate to go to court. We cannot condone or allow Zuma to escape accountability for breaking his oath of office and putting his friends and family above the best interests of the people of South Africa, the DA said.

It is incomprehensible that immunity would even be considered given the devastating impact Zuma’s presidency has had on the country. It also shows that the ANC, under Ramaphosa, is the very same ANC it was under Zuma.

Zuma was to have delivered the annual State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday evening, but this was postponed to enable negotiations with Ramaphosa to continue after ANC heavyweights called on him to resign. The president has, however, failed to step down, prompting talks between him and Ramaphosa over the transition.

Zuma is accused of helping his friends and family benefit from lucrative government contracts.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has pulled out of the ANC engagements he was set to attend on Friday. The ANC released an updated statement after the ANC caucus meeting which took place in Parliament to brief ANC MPs as political uncertainty over President Zuma’s future mounted.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa assured South Africans that his engagement with Zuma seeks to find a speedy resolution to the current leadership and political impasse. In a statement, Ramaphosa said he had begun direct discussions with the president on the transition and matters relating to Zuma’s position as Head of State.