Last year’s State of the Nation address in South Africa descended into anarchy, which is probably what prompted the postponement of this year’s SONA. Sources state that Deputy President reiterated the fears of Baleka Mbete that the SONA will once again descend into chaos, and convinced President Zuma to postpone the annual address. The postponement could also be due to the country-wide speculation about the removal of President Jacob Zuma.
Could it be that the officers of Parliament, who have initiated the postponement, believe that there will be a new President before the State of the Nation Address is held? It is still unclear as to whether Zuma will be forced to step down by Wednesday. Following a meeting between President Zuma and top NWC officials, a special National Executive Committee meeting is set to be held on Wednesday, Feb 7th. The meeting will, according to the statement provided by the ANC, focus preparations for the State of the Nation Address among other things. According to News24, this meeting was called after attempts to convince Zuma to step down failed on Monday.
In a statement, the ANC said: “Following extensive deliberation the national working committee resolved to convene a meeting of the NEC, which is the highest decision making body of the ANC between conferences, on Wednesday. Amongst issues to be tabled to the special NEC meeting will be preparations for the state of the nation address (SONA) and a report back from the National Working Committee on matters mandated to it, including management f the transition between the 5th and 6th administration of government and pending actions in Parliament.”
According to ANC officials, if President Zuma does not resign, they will be forced to take the parliamentary route.
The DA and EFF have requested a vote of no confidence in Zuma to be held this Thursday, Feb. 8, but their request was denied. The vote of no confidence is scheduled for February 22nd. EFF leader Julius Malema has allegedly requested that the no-confidence vote be held as a secret ballot. However, despite working toward the same outcome, the ANC has stated that they will not support a process led by an opposition party.
Despite all of this, Zuma’s supporters persist. Anti-Zuma ANC members were met with resistance by Gupta-encouraged Zuma supporters outside Luthuli House. Police were called in to monitor the protests.
Discussions on Tuesday night changed the course of this battle- President Zuma has allegedly agreed to resign, as long as his list of preconditions is finalised.
Until Wednesday’s meeting convenes, however, we will be in the dark as to the fate of President Jacob Zuma. We can only hope that the outcomes of this meeting will be to the benefit of our country as a whole.