Sona to go ahead amid questions around Zuma exit

Parliament’s presiding officers say it is all systems go for next week’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) and that whoever is president will deliver it.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation Address on 9 February 2017 in Parliament. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s presiding officers say it is all systems go for next week’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) and that whoever is president will deliver it.

They say the event next Thursday will go ahead as planned, despite pleas from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ACDP for it to be postponed until a new president is in place.

A request from the Economic Freedom Fighters for a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be debated at a special sitting ahead of Sona has also been rejected.

Zuma is under pressure from within his own party to step down, putting a question mark over whether he, or his deputy and African National Congress president, Cyril Ramaphosa, will take centre stage next Thursday.

At a briefing Thursday, Parliament’s presiding officers seemed at pains not to refer to the president by name as they detailed plans for the State of the Nation Address.

National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise: “Whoever is President will address Sona, that’s all we know.”

Afterwards, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete referred to processes underway within the ANC “every day and every night”, telling EWN: “At this point, the information we have is that the head of state is President Jacob Zuma so as far as we are concerned, that is who is going to deliver the state of the nation address, until we hear different information.”

The EFF has meanwhile warned it will use Sona to make it clear the President Jacob Zuma is an illegitimate president, setting the stage for possible disruptions.