Sona on ice but it's business as usual for Parliament

Baleka Mbete insists Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba would still deliver his budget speech on February 21. (Netwerk24/Jaco Marais)

Baleka Mbete insists Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba would still deliver his budget speech on February 21. (Netwerk24/Jaco Marais)

The ANC is expected to make an announcement today with regards to the postponement of the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

President Jacob Zuma’s hold on power appears to be loosening after his State of the Nation Address which was meant to be held on February 9 was postponed, but it is business as usual in parliament.

The decision to postpone the address was made on Tuesday evening, ahead of the special national executive committee (NEC) meeting which has since been postponed until February 17 after Zuma and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa had a “constructive discussion”.

Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete did not reveal whether or not the president would tender his resignation, but she did say that she does not see herself becoming an interim president.

However, Mbete says Parliament would attempt to recover as much of the funds spent on travel and housing from the cancelled event.

Mbete saw Zuma on Tuesday and said despite the challenges facing him, Zuma appears to be prepared to take it all on.

“He was only the ordinary Jacob Zuma who was ready to laugh at life,” she said.

“We cannot preempt what will happen”, Mbete continued and called on citizens to be patient and allow the process of consultation to take its course.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga has said the postponement has been deeply damaging to the ANC, because it shows the party’s “inability to manage the transition” which “has resulted in the disruption of key institutions”.

The postponement of Sona has also affected several state of the province addresses (Sopa) which were meant to be held at the end of February.

Gauteng, the North West, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have all alerted their officials to postpone their Sopa’s indefinitely.

However, Mbete insists Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba would still deliver his budget speech on February 21.

The rand fluctuates

After Mbete’s announcement on Tuesday afternoon, The rand went from from R12.09 to R12.05 to the US dollar. Though the rand dropped that evening as the dollar strengthened, Wednesday morning saw the rand at R11.97 to the dollar.

Analysts believe that this may be due to the political movement in the ANC.

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