Sona postponed to accommodate ANC's needs - analyst

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on Tuesday announced the postponement of the State of the National Address, which was scheduled to be held on Thursday.

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

CAPE TOWN - Political analyst Richard Calland says this is an extremely confusing period for South Africans.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on Tuesday announced the postponement of the State of The National Address (Sona), scheduled to be held on Thursday.

A new date is yet to be set.

The African National Congress (ANC)’s national executive committee (NEC) was also expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the future of President Jacob Zuma. But the NEC meeting was also postponed on Tuesday evening.

Calland says he’s hoping that on Wednesday, some light will be cast on the situation.

“The NEC was postponed at the last minute, followed fast on the heels of an earlier decision to postpone Sona, which in itself was an extraordinary thing. What it meant was that a very important date on the calendar of the government has been pushed aside because of the needs of the political party.”

Calland says these needs are in short terms to manage the transition from Zuma to deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“On the one hand, this is the moment at which President Zuma resigns because he’s done great harm, on the other hand, it’s extremely concerning that government has been put aside to accommodate the needs of a particular political party.”

Calland says that he assumes that the only reason the meeting has been postponed is that an agreement has been reached between Zuma and Ramaphosa regarding the president’s departure.

“Some sort of announcement has to come today (7 February 2018) from the ANC to clarify what exactly is going on, otherwise the uncertainty will continue to do great harm to the reputation of the government, Ramaphosa and the prospect for the economy to recover.”

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(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)