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Zuma speech postponed amid calls to quit

Published : Feb 7, 2018, 2:32 am IST
Updated : Feb 7, 2018, 2:32 am IST

ANC, divided on Zuma’s fate, to meet today.

Jacob Zuma
 Jacob Zuma

Cape Town: South African President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Speech in Parliament has been postponed as pressure grows on him to resign.

Parliament Speaker Bal-eka Mbete made the ann-ouncement on Tuesday without giving a new date for the address that was scheduled for Thursday.

“We thought that we needed to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in Parliament,” Mr Mbete told reporters.

“When we met the Presi-dent this afternoon, we learnt that he was already writing to Parliament to ask for the postponement. A new date for the State of the Nation address will be announced very soon.”

The African National Congress, which has ru-led since Nelson Mandela won the post-apartheid 1994 election, is divided over whether Mr Zuma should be “recalled” from his position. A meeting of ANC’s national executive committee, the party’s top body, has been called on Wednesday to decide the President’s future.

Mr Zuma, 75, in power since 2009, is fighting for his survival and faces the imminent risk of being ousted from office by his own party after multiple graft scandals.

Though he has resisted calls to quit, in December he was replaced as party leader by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, 65, who is now the frontrunner to succeed him as President.

While many ANC members are pushing for Mr Ramaphosa to replace Mr Zuma as President immediately, others say that the serving President should complete his second and final term in office, which ends when elections are held next year.

The 80-member ANC committee could “recall” Mr Zuma from office — an instruction he could constitutionally refuse to obey, triggering political chaos. 

Tags: jacob zuma, nelson mandela