Ubuntu awards postponed over Parliament's SONA decision

President Jacob Zuma with Cyril Ramaphosa. (Themba Makofane, Daily Sun)
President Jacob Zuma with Cyril Ramaphosa. (Themba Makofane, Daily Sun)

Johannesburg - The 2018 annual Ubuntu awards have been postponed until further notice, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) announced on Thursday.  

President Jacob Zuma had been set to officiate at the annual Ubuntu awards ceremony at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Saturday.

The decision to delay the awards comes in the wake of Parliament's decision to postpone the State of the Nation Address (SONA), spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Parliament's presiding officers announced that Thursday's SONA had been indefinitely postponed amid fears that it might descend into chaos.

READ: No date yet for SONA 2018, but budget speech will take place on February 21

"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 said at the time. 

The Ubuntu awards, which aims to celebrate South African citizens who play a role in projecting a positive image of South Africa internationally, were first launched by Dirco in 2015.

"Through excellence in their chosen fields, the proud South Africans are recognized for serving as global ambassadors of the nation. These are South African citizens, who, through their Integrity, Passion, Patriotism and Humility have raised the South African flag high on an international stage," the presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ANC NEC, which is the highest decision-making body in the party, was due to take a final decision on Zuma's future but party president Cyril Ramaphosa dramatically cancelled the NEC meeting this week after what he called a "constructive and fruitful" meeting with Zuma on Tuesday.

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