JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s deputy president says anyone who acts corruptly must be punished regardless of identity, in a message reflecting national discontent with scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma and his associates.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa made the remark on Tuesday as Zuma returned from an African Union summit in Ethiopia, where he made his own comments about corruption in Africa. Zuma acknowledged a problem but called it “quite exaggerated” at times and said entities outside the continent encourage African corruption for their own benefit.

Some members of the ruling African National Congress party are pushing for Zuma’s early exit and say he shouldn’t deliver the state of the nation address when parliament opens in Cape Town on Feb. 8. If Zuma speaks as scheduled, his speech likely would be met with protests.