Magashule: Zuma will deliver SONA

Fielding questions from media, Magashule said: "President Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA). The answer is yes." (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

Fielding questions from media, Magashule said: "President Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA). The answer is yes." (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

President Jacob Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA), ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said on Saturday.

Magashule was part of the newly elected ANC top six that met with traditional leaders, including the king of the BaVenda Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, in Limpopo on Saturday.

Responding to a question by eNCA reporter Samkelo Maseko, Magashule said: “President Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA). The answer is yes.”

In a combined statement on Friday, opposition parties said if Zuma delivers the SONA “that will confirm the ANC’s inability, or unwillingness, to do what is right for South Africa”.

READ MORE: Mashatile: Zuma must go

“The acute refusal of the ANC to remove President Zuma from office is well documented and the governing party’s resistance clearly indicates that it is not committed to the rule of law and the ethics of good governance,” read the statement, which was delivered by United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa.

At Friday’s press briefing in Johannesburg, leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), UDM and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) agreed to send an official letter to Parliament’s presiding officers, National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise, to express their concerns in allowing the proposed SONA to go ahead on Thursday.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane and FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald could not attend the meeting but, according to Holomisa, the opposition was united “in assuring South Africans that it would continue to energetically fight for the eradication of corruption and capture and for the establishment of the ethics of good governance”.

On Thursday, Mbete and Modise were adamant that the SONA would go ahead as planned. On Friday, Mbete announced in a statement that the motion of no confidence in Zuma, called for by the EFF, would be debated on February 22.

Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon, ANC NEC member Bheki Cele tore into Magashule for the comments he made during an ANC Youth League rally in Pietermaritzburg a week prior.

READ MORE: Zuma digs in heels ahead of Sona

At the rally, Magashule said he had accepted that “the law must take its course” in relation to the controversy surrounding a dairy farm project in the Free State, but said he believes that this should not be used to scare him out of his new position in the party.

Magashule’s role as Free State premier has been questioned after the Hawks raided his office, as well as the provincial office of the department of agriculture on January 26.

A week earlier, News24 revealed that the Krynaauws Lust farm, near Vrede, was placed under the curatorship of NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

The Free State agricultural department – under then MEC Mosebenzi Zwane – allegedly paid R220-million to the Guptas in what the AFU calls a “scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department”.The #GuptaLeaks revealed last year, how at least R30-million, allegedly paid to the Guptas via the farm ended up funding the family’s lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.

Cele, who was speaking at the party’s 106-year-anniversary celebrations in Vryheid, northern KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday claimed Magashule had been “delivered on a tray” to the Guptas.

“He (Magashule) says he was introduced to the Guptas by the ANC. I see that’s why we will have a problem. This problem is that the Guptas have a stranglehold on us. We are in such a state as the ANC – we’re kicking each other, stepping on each other and spitting at each other – because of the Guptas,” said Cele.

He said Magashule had not explained what his programme with the Guptas was.

“Some of us have started suspecting that his programme is to destroy the ANC.”

He also criticised Magashule for telling the Pietermaritzburg crowd that the elected leaders were expected to lead the party for a five-year term.

“You see comrades you can’t be elected and be SG of the organisation and use a platform such as the 106’s anniversary celebrations in Pietermaritzburg and say you give the leaders you were elected with five years (to lead).

“Who tells you where you’ll be after five years? As you are God now and giving us five years, you must tell us who sent you to give ANC leadership five years. Who do you work for?” he asked. – News24

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