Chief whips to meet after Sona postponement

Chief whips of political parties will be meeting at Parliament to decide on a new date for the State of the Nation Address after it was postponed.

Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - The chief whips of political parties will meet on Wednesday to discuss the way forward after Tuesday’s unprecedented decision to postpone Thursday night’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Sona marks the opening of Parliament and allows the head of state to set the political agenda for the year ahead amid pomp and ceremony involving all three Arms of the State.

But the threat of protests and disruptions if President Jacob Zuma delivered the address led to opposition parties calling for it to be postponed while pressure from within the African National Congress has been mounting on him to resign.

When the ANC’s national executive committee convenes on Wednesday to decide President Zuma’s future, party chief whips will be meeting at Parliament to decide on a new date for the event.

Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Narend Singh said: “The chief whip’s forum is meeting tomorrow to decide on the way forward - I just believe we could be seeing a new president in a matter of time, and that possibly next week could be dedicated to the processes to allow that to happen… that is just my sense.”

Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen said: “I think that certainly all opposition parties are happy today and certainly I am happy that this great institution behind me (Parliament) has been spared the terrible indignity of what a farce a Zuma Sona would have been.”

Much depends on whether Zuma opts to step down or chooses to face motions of no confidence in him or possible impeachment.