Whoever is president to give State of the Nation Address - Thandi Modise

Planning for the event is going ahead despite uncertainty over whether or not President Jacob Zuma will still be in office.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation Address in Parliament. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's presiding officers say that next week's State of the Nation Address (Sona) will be addressed by whoever is president.

Planning for the event is going ahead despite uncertainty over whether or not President Jacob Zuma will still be in office.

This includes dealing with threatened protests and demonstrations should Zuma still be sitting president come next Thursday evening.

While the African National Congress (ANC)'s top six is reportedly in talks with Zuma about an early exit, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have asked for a motion of no confidence in him to be debated ahead of SONA, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) has asked for it to be postponed.

With the State of the Nation Address exactly one week away, there’s no clarity on whether or not President Jacob Zuma will be the person delivering it as his party tries behind the scenes to negotiate his early exit.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says that planning for Sona is based on Zuma delivering the address: “I mean, there are processes going on, every day and every night – and at this point, the information that we have is that the head of state is President Jacob Zuma. So, as far as we’re concerned that is who is going to deliver the State of the Nation Address, until we hear different information.”

What is certain is that if it is Zuma, there are certain to be protests and demonstrations outside Parliament and a likely replay of the violence and chaos that has played out inside the chamber in recent years.

Mbete has meanwhile rejected the idea of an early sitting to debate the EFF’s motion of no confidence in Zuma, but says the motion itself is still on the table.

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise says that whoever is president will deliver the State of the Nation Address.