Ill Jacob Zuma driven down red carpet

2014-06-17 21:32
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma deviated from his usual routine of walking down the red carpet to the entrance of the National Assembly, and was driven there instead, City Press reports.

Zuma, who made his first public appearance in more than 10 days after being booked off work for "exhaustion", was apparently too ill to walk the 200m or so from the entrance to the parliamentary precinct to the steps of the National Assembly.

Although he laughed when the FF Plus cracked a joke by greeting him in Afrikaans, Zuma appeared thin, even frail, and much less energetic than usual as he started his State of the Nation address that marks the opening of the fifth Parliament, following the May elections.

Zuma was driven through the Cape Town streets and onto the red carpet in his usual bus with see-through windows, while his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, also didn’t walk down the red carpet but was driven in a black luxury car with tinted windows.

He entered the building with Speaker Baleka Mbete at his side, and she appeared to help him down some of the steps.

The rest of the procession was done as usual, but the mood was somewhat dampened by the dark and cold winter weather.

His being driven instead of walking down the red carpet appeared to have been a decision taken at the last minute. Even an hour before he arrived, officials said they weren’t sure if he would drive onto the red carpet or walk.

There were even rumours that his speech would be much shorter than the usual 45 minutes to an hour, but that wasn’t the case.

Zuma complained about a pain in his neck while addressing the ANC’s lekgotla in Pretoria ten days ago and did not tend to any public engagements since then.

He has cancelled an appearance at the business breakfast sponsored by The New Age on Wednesday morning, and an SABC staffer said his interview and the usual State of the Nation preview with the public broadcaster were also cancelled at short notice.

This has not been confirmed by the SABC.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  parliament 2014

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