Mbete: Sona delay is embarrassing

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete announced the postponement of the State of the Nation Address on Tuesday.

NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise (left) and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete (right) at a media briefing on the 2018 State of the Nation Address. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says that “ideally” the State of The Nation Address (Sona) could go ahead next Thursday (15 February) but says she can only be certain once she receives communication from the executive.

Sona was postponed, as well as the much-anticipated African National Congress national executive committee meeting, which was expected to deal with President Jacob Zuma's position as the head of state.

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement saying that the meeting was delayed after he began direct discussions with President Jacob Zuma on the transition and matters relating to his position as the president of the republic.

Mbete says she’s not happy about the delay as it inconveniences people, it’s embarrassing, and she remains anxious yet hopeful about the way forward.

“It takes almost six months to arrange Sona… by now a lot has been arranged. It can commerce on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.”

Meanwhile, opposition parties are preparing to pile on the pressure in a bid to bring forward the date of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) motion of no confidence in President Zuma.

There’s a plan for all 12 opposition parties in Parliament to meet on Monday to plan a joint strategy on the motion of no confidence and the election of a new president.

This follows a meeting of five opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance (DA), the EFF and Congress of the People, at Parliament on Wednesday.

The parties are aiming for a united front to put its weight behind the push to bring forward the EFF’s no confidence should President Zuma not resigned by the end of the weekend.

LISTEN: Baleka Mbete announces Sona postponement

Additional reporting by Gaye Davis.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)