Following a mounting pressure inside the ANC and from opposition parties calling for President Jacob Zuma to leave office, the National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete has announced that the 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been postponed.
This takes after a meeting on Tuesday with the Chief Whips of all political parties in Parliament.
Mbete said SONA planned for Thursday will no longer take place.
She said another date will be announced soon.
The Presidency said in a statement it has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, and the Chairperson of the Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise requesting the postponement of the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
“The President has requested the postponement due to certain developments which make it not conducive to successfully hold the sitting and deliver the SONA.The Presiding Officers have acceded to the President’s request,” the Presidency said
The meeting was initially planned for Wednesday.
All eyes will now focus on National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, also postponed on Tuesday night to this weekend to decide on President Zuma’s political destiny.
A week ago, Mbete briefed Presiding Officers that plans to hold SONA were set to proceed.
This was after the Democratic Alliance (DA) kept in touch with the speaker that SONA be deferred inconclusively until the current leadership crises inside the ANC is settled, while Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) requested for the Motion of No Confidence to take place before SONA
DA Leader Mmusi Maimane said the ANC is in total turmoil and being held to emancipate by Jacob Zuma.
“At a price tag of over R11 million in taxpayers money, SONA can’t be lessened to a public relations exercise for a man on the incline of impeachment and conceivable correctional facility time,” said Maimane
EFF National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said his party respects the delay as a move towards the expulsion of Zuma from the most astounding office in the land.
“We emphasise our call for the Motion of No Confidence to happen before SONA. We realise that regardless of whether the ANC NEC were to recall him, Zuma won’t step down,” said Ndlozi.
Ndlozi said Zuma wishes that mayhem ejects should he be compelled to step down.
“Knowing that his destination is the prison, Zuma wants to go down with chaos, he must be forced down, and demonstrated to, that there will not be any chaos,” said Ndlozi.
He said Zuma will end up in prison not because anyone hates him, but because he has been working hard, of his own volition, to end up in jail.