The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete has postpone the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Mbete says the decision has been taken on the best interest of the country, saying the updates on the new date for the national speech will be set as soon as possible.
“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.”
“Reporting through Parliament on the State of the Nation is a critical accountability action by the Executive and it must happen. Developments this year, particularly the calls for disruption and/or postponement of the Joint Sitting, have, therefore, caused us great concern.”
“We have, regrettably, come to the conclusion that there is little likelihood of an uneventful Joint Sitting of Parliament this coming Thursday,” the Speaker said.
Mbete says parliament has engaged President Jacob Zuma regarding the postponement of SONA.
Meanwhile, ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu has welcomes the postponement of SONA as announced by the Presiding Officers today, informed by the current political environment.
“The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the postponement of the Joint Sitting for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) as announced by the Presiding Officers today, informed by the current political environment.”
“The ANC Caucus will await the outcomes of the National Executive Committee (NEC) scheduled for tomorrow to give guidance to Caucus on the way forward,” said the statement.
The decision comes amid pressure on President Zuma to step down as the country’s president. The ANC top six met President Zuma on Sunday to discuss among other issues, transition between the 5th and 6th Administration.
While addressing the media outside Parliament, Mbete said this decision has been taken in the best interest of the country and Parliament.
“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,” concluded the statement.