State of the Nation Address postponed

President Jacob Zuma and ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

President Jacob Zuma and ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The State of the Nation Address, which was due to be delivered by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday evening, has been postponed.

Baleka Mbete, the Speaker of Parliament, notified the media on Tuesday afternoon of the postponement.

Thandi Modise, chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, said the postponement would not be for more than a week.

 Mbete said Parliament’s presiding officers had requested that Sona be postponed only to find out that Zuma was also writing to Parliament with the same request.

The primary reason for the delay was the threat of disruption. “This decision is in the best interests of the country,” Mbete said.

She said the parliamentary team had listened to “political stakeholders and members of the public in making this decision” and that the address would be postponed in order to “create room… for a more conducive political atmosphere in Parliament”.

Mbete said that, although Sona will be postponed, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will give his 2018 budget speech as planned on February 21.

Shortly after Mbete’s announcement, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema tweeted that Zuma would resign any time now.

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