Published: Tue, February 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

President Zuma Requests Postponement of the State of the Nation Address

President Zuma Requests Postponement of the State of the Nation Address

A group of ruling party officials who met Monday called a meeting of the ANC's national executive committee for Wednesday to discuss preparations for the speech and what it described as a governmental 'transition, ' a reference to Zuma's expected exit and replacement by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

NCOP Chair Thandi Modise (L) and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete (R) announcing the postponement of the State of the Nation Address outside Parliament on 6 February 2018.

Zuma, who's survived numerous efforts to remove him from office, faces the first no-confidence motion - brought by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters - in parliament on February 22 without being head of his party.

At the meeting in his Pretoria residence, the ANC officials reportedly asked Mr Zuma to resign for the sake of party unity ahead of the general election in 2019, but he refused their request, saying he had done nothing wrong.

This postponement has taken into account the scheduled tabling of the national budget in the next two weeks. "I am happy that this great institution has been spared the awful indignity of what a farce a Zuma address would have been‚" he said.

The EFF wanted a vote of no confidence to be held before SONA.

"We will tell you exactly what the NEC has decided post our meeting".

The marquee's were already erected and the canapés ordered when the announcement came that that the annual address is postponed.

Cape Town - The rand strengthened slightly on Tuesday afternoon, on news that the State of the Nation Address has been postponed.

The BLF supporters, who are leading a "Hands off Zuma" campaign, have not returned to Luthuli House since being chased away.

Zuma has not said whether he will step down voluntarily before his second term as president ends next year.

On Monday, senior ANC officials held an emergency meeting in the main city, Johannesburg, to discuss his future.

Duarte and party secretary-general and top-six member Ace Magashule have backed Zuma.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton reported in December on All Things Considered, Zuma "stands accused of patronage and allowing state capture, as it's called here - letting powerful outside interests buy influence in government and even appoint and fire ministers", charges he denies.

The ANC leadership meets Wednesday and could consider moves to oust him.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said his caucus welcomed the latest developments and that a special caucus meeting would be convened on Thursday to apprise MPs on the rationale behind the postponement.

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