SA braces for Zexit as #SONA2018 is pushed back - AS IT HAPPENED

2018-02-06 10:53

The presiding officers of Parliament have announced that the State of the Nation Address has been postponed, as debate rages on around the future of President Jacob Zuma.

Watch our studio analysis as Editor in Chief Adriaan Basson and Opinions Editor Alet Janse van Rensburg unpack what this means.


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Last Updated at 08:45
06 Feb 16:53

Mbete: SONA postponed in best interests of SA

Days of speculation have ended after Parliament's presiding officers postponed this year's State of the Nation Address, amid fears that it might once again descend into chaos.

"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," National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Opposition parties and the ruling ANC welcomed the decision.

President Jacob Zuma waves to the media as he leaves Tuynhuys. (Paul Herman, News24)

06 Feb 16:52

SONA: Can it be postponed or even cancelled, and if so by whom? " Constitutionally Speaking

Over the past 23 years the ritual has been established that the President of the country addresses a joint sitting of Parliament early each year, accompanied by an elaborate display of pomp and ceremony and ever increasing "security measures". This event has become known as the State of the Nation Address (SONA for short).

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06 Feb 16:16

ANC statement on the postponement of the State of the Nation Address

The African National Congress notes and respects the decision of the President of the Republic of South Africa in consultation with the Presiding Officers of Parliament to postpone the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces; intended for the tabling of the State of the Nation Address. We understand that this decision was arrived at based on a shared understanding that there is a need to deliver this important address in a conducive political environment.

The ANC maintains its commitment to providing leadership to the Republic of South Africa in a manner that reinforces confidence in public institutions such as Parliament. It is for this reason that the ANC Caucus, represented by the Chief Whip, in the meeting of the Presiding Officers and all political parties, also motivated for the postponement of the scheduled Joint Sitting in light of the growing anxieties in the public domain.

As previously announced, the ANC will convene its Special National Executive Committee (NEC) tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 in Cape Town. The NEC will also reflect on this decision by the President and the Presiding Officers to postpone the State Of the Nation Address and provide direction on how the ANC will assist their efforts to create a conducive political environment as they intend.

Issued by the African National Congress

06 Feb 16:15

Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes postponement of SONA

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.

Issued by the Office of the Chief Whip

06 Feb 16:11

From our archives: Mbeki's full resignation speech

President Thabo Mbeki Resigns: Read the Full Text of his Resignation Speech

President Thabo Mbeki told the country on Sunday night he had tendered his resignation after the ruling ANC asked him to step down. 

"Fellow South Africans, I have no doubt that you are aware of the announcement made yesterday by the National Executive Committee of the ANC with regard to the position of the President of the Republic.

06 Feb 16:05

06 Feb 16:01

President Zuma requests postponement of State of the Nation Address

President Jacob Zuma has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete and the Chairperson of the Council of Provinces, Ms Thandi Modise requesting the postponement of the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, which he had asked them to convene in order to deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The Joint Sitting was scheduled to take place on Thursday, 08 February 2018.

The President has requested the postponement due to certain developments which make it not conducive to successfully hold the sitting and deliver the SONA.

The Presiding Officers have acceded to the President’s request.

Office of the Presidency

06 Feb 15:57

We welcome the decision to postpone the State of the Nation Address following our request last week

by Mmusi Maimane - Leader of the Democratic Alliance

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to accede to our request to postpone the State of the Nation Address (SONA). This follows a meeting today with the Chief Whips of political parties represented in Parliament.

Last week, I wrote to the Speaker requesting that SONA be postponed indefinitely until the current leadership crisis within the ANC is resolved. We cannot waste money, time, nor another iota of our dwindling credibility on the international stage by allowing Jacob Zuma to deliver the State of the Nation Address.

The ANC is in complete turmoil and being held to ransom by Jacob Zuma. At a price tag of over R11 million in taxpayers money, SONA cannot be reduced to a public relations exercise for a man on the precipice of impeachment and possible jail time.

South Africa only works when Parliament works, and SONA is an integral part of the country's legislative agenda. It is therefore imperative that we work towards circumstances that allow SONA to proceed. However this can only happen once Jacob Zuma is removed as President of South Africa.

To this end, the DA will be writing to Speaker Baleka Mbete to ensure that our impeachment motion, tabled last year, is urgently placed back on the order paper and the rules governing the impeachment process are finalised this week.

Following this, Parliament must elect a new President, and this must be done via a special sitting of Parliament next week. One thing we cannot postpone is removing Jacob Zuma and electing a new President. This must be done in the next week.

Lastly, we flatly reject any amnesty agreement or special deal for Jacob Zuma. He is not above the law, and must still face the [783 counts] of fraud, money laundering and racketeering against him which were erroneously dropped almost a decade ago.

06 Feb 15:51

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06 Feb 15:38

Rand up on SONA postponement

The rand strengthened slightly on Tuesday afternoon, on news that the State of the Nation Address has been postponed.

After National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete made the announcement at about 14:40, the local unit gained 5 cents to the US dollar, strengthening from R12.09/$ to R12.04 to the greenback. 

However, by 15:00 it still had not breached the R12.00/$ level. The local currency hit a low of R12.18/$ in early morning trade, caused in part by dollar strength.

Wichard Cilliers, currency dealer at TreasuryOne, said in the wake of the postponement that markets are waiting to see if the ANC National Executive Committee, the party's highest decision making body between conferences, is going to recall President Jacob Zuma. 

"We can possibly see the ZAR test back to the R11.80s if the president does get recalled," he said.

06 Feb 15:31

Decision on Zuma's fate is urgent - Duarte

A clear decision on President Jacob Zuma's fate as head of state is now urgent, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said on Tuesday. Duarte said the ANC's national executive committee needed to put to an end to speculation around Zuma's future, as its decision would bind all members.

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06 Feb 15:13

Statement by the presiding officers on Parliament on the 2018 State of the Nation Address

Parliament, Tuesday 6 February 2018 - The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is an important occasion in the national political programme of Parliament.

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.

With this in mind, we decided to approach the President of the Republic to propose that we postpone the Joint Sitting in order to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in Parliament. When we met the President, we then learnt that he was already writing to Parliament to ask for the postponement of SONA.

This postponement has taken into account the scheduled tabling of the national budget in the next two weeks.

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.

A new date for the State of the Nation Address will be announced soon.

Thank you,


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06 Feb 14:57

06 Feb 14:57
I think we're seeing the endgame of the Zuma presidency - DA

06 Feb 14:56

We are delighted.  

It's been a very wise decision - DA

06 Feb 14:55

IFP welcomes SONA postponement  

When SONA takes places, it will take place in a conducive environment - IFP

06 Feb 14:53
It will be miraculous for Mr Zuma not to go down with the ANC and his cronies - EFF

06 Feb 14:50
EFF insists that Zuma will "defy" the ANC

06 Feb 14:49
EFF welcomes postponement of SONA

06 Feb 14:47

06 Feb 14:46
ANC welcomes the postponement of SONA

06 Feb 14:45
We are in continuing interaction with the president of the ANC because he is the leader of government business, says Mbete

06 Feb 14:44
We have an understanding of the seriousness of the situation

06 Feb 14:43
No possibility of a productive SONA

06 Feb 14:41
We have a proposal not to postpone by more than a week

06 Feb 14:39
Little likelihood of uneventful SONA

06 Feb 14:37
Baleka Mbete makes statement on the SONA

06 Feb 14:36
BLF members at Orange Farm police station in a mini scuffle with cops. This after news ANC member Thabang Setona was released from jail because the victim didnt open a case. Setona was caught on camera kicking Olivia Makete Luthuli House.

06 Feb 14:35

06 Feb 14:15

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06 Feb 14:10

06 Feb 13:27
Doesn't help the economy with the PIC giving Eskom a bailout, says Travis Robson from IG South Africa

06 Feb 13:26
Despite political uncertainty, Cyril Ramaphosa did a "good job" in assuring foreign investors in Davos - Travis Robson from IG South Africa

06 Feb 13:10
DA's James Selfe says legal team says the court will not look favourably on their case to remove Zuma

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