S. African parliament postpones Zuma's State of Nation Address

Xinhua Published: 2018-02-06 23:38:55
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South Africa's Parliament on Tuesday announced its decision to postpone the State of the Nation Address (SONA) amid growing calls for President Jacob Zuma to resign.

President Jacob Zuma. [Photo: IC]

President Jacob Zuma. [Photo: IC]

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the decision was to avoid disruption and chaos that have characterized this annual joint sitting of Parliament in the past four years.

Zuma was originally scheduled to deliver SONA on Thursday. But there have been growing calls for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to recall Zuma and deprive him of the right to deliver SONA, an annual event in South Africa in which the president reports on the status of the nation, normally to the resumption of a joint sitting of Parliament (the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces).

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete to postpone SONA until Zuma steps down.

"We have been dismayed in the past four years at the disruption, anarchy and chaos that have been characteristic of this annual joint sitting which, in some way, marks the opening of Parliament," Mothapo said.

To press for Zuma's resignation, opposition parties had disrupted Parliament when Zuma delivered SONA in the past four years.

"We have regrettably come to the conclusion that there is little likelihood of an uneventful joint sitting of Parliament this coming Thursday," Mothapo said.

Zuma himself has already written to Parliament to ask for the postponement of SONA, Mothapo said.

"We wish to assure fellow South Africans and everyone affected by this decision that these actions are being taken in the best interests of Parliament and the country," Mothapo said.

A new date for SONA will be announced soon, he said.

Since Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as ANC president in December, pressure has been mounting on Zuma to resign due to his alleged involvement in a series of corruption scandals.

The postponement of SONA came after the ANC Top Six leadership met with Zuma, reportedly to discuss his "graceful" resignation, but Zuma has refused to step down.

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