SONA should be postponed until new President elected – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says it will not be in best interests of SA if Jacob Zuma delivers the address

I have requested that SONA be postponed until Parliament can elect a new President for South Africa

31 January 2018

I have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting that this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), scheduled for next Thursday 8 February, be postponed until Jacob Zuma has been removed from office, and Parliament is afforded an opportunity to elect a new President.

It is no secret that there is a battle within the ANC and the national executive  - with each side holding starkly differing policies, ideological positions and plans of action. While Cyril Ramaphosa is the ANC President, Jacob Zuma remains President of South Africa, leaving the country not knowing which direction is being pursued.

As things stand, it would not be in the best interests of South Africa for President Zuma to deliver the State of the Nation Address when there exists great uncertainty as to whether he will remain President, and if so, for how long. While the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) has requested Jacob Zuma be removed before SONA, the ANC’s Deputy Secretary-General, Jessie Duarte, has gone on record saying Jacob Zuma is “going nowhere”.

Last year’s State of the Nation Address cost over R11 million. We cannot afford to waste this amount of public money for Jacob Zuma to deliver the government’s programme of action for the coming year in his SONA, when it is not likely that he will remain the President of the Republic much longer.

According to the new rules of Parliament adopted last year, Parliament is currently open for business, and does not require a SONA for the House and its committees to continue its work.

Therefore the Speaker must act in the interests of all South Africans, and postpone the State of the Nation Address until the ANC leadership battle has been resolved.

Issued by Mmusi MaimaneLeader of the Democratic Alliance, 31 January 2018