Everyone's talking Zuma's exit

File: President Jacob Zuma's departure is under debate both within the ANC and by opposition parties. Photo: ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma's continued leadership of the government is being debated on a number of political fronts on Friday.

It is the last day of an extended Cabinet lekgotla and the question on everyone's mind is who will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.

Parliament says the show must go on, with whoever is head of state on Thursday addressing the nation.

Opposition parties meet on Friday to discuss their game plan. Parties including the EFF, the UDM and the DA have called for Zuma to be replaced before the address.

The EFF says it will stick to its decision to not recognise Zuma and is insisting that a motion of no confidence vote takes place before Thursday.

"We will have to raise all these issues at the State of the Nation Address because we have committed to making it very clear that Zuma is an abnormal president, he is an illegitimate president, he does not deserve business as usual," EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

READ: Whoever is president will deliver SONA: Modise

UDM president Bantu Holomisa says a special sitting of the National Assembly can still be convened if Zuma were to resign in the coming days. 

He says Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chair Thandi Modise must be more careful.

"These presiding officers are out of order to say in between now and the 8th [February] nothing can happen. If the ANC recalls Zuma on Saturday evening they will have to reschedule the [SONA] programme to make sure the new president is elected. They must not mislead the public, that time is over," he said.

LISTEN: Zuma giggles as EFF booted out of Sona

Speaking at a briefing on SONA preparations on Thursday, Modise said that as far as Parliament was concerned, there were clear guidelines about the person who delivers the address.

"We have absolutely no intention as presiding officers to approach any president to say: 'You must not come and address the state of the nation.' ... It is a president ...so whoever is president will address SONA, that’s all we know."

Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana believes there is still a chance that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the address.

"If they don't get Jacob Zuma to resign or if they don't push him out they might come up with a very weird idea that Cyril delivers the State of the Nation Address, even though he might not be the president," Ndletyana said.

Such a manoeuvre would allow the speech to proceed without the disruptions that have become common in the National Assembly over the past few years, he said.

 

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