There could be no SONA this year

Image Credit: Ace Magashule looked sombre as he delivered news of the NEC’s decisions to members of the media on Tuesday afternoon. Credit: CNN

It is possible that the South African Republic might not have a State of the Nation Address (Sona) this year. Secretary-General of the ANC, Ace Magashule, suggested that holding the address is not a constitutional requirement, meaning it could be up to the ANC to decide if it happens or not. While Magashule was unable to answer questions on when the address will be. He revealed that if it does happen, Cyril Ramaphosa will be the one to deliver the address.

Magashule rubbished claims that Zuma has requested the NEC to stay in his seat for further three months so that he advances his interests in the controversial Sassa and Russian Nuclear deals as “fake news”. He said that Zuma’s reasons for asking to stay a further three months related to the commitments he still has to fulfil with BRICS and SADC.

Magashule said the party would give Zuma until Wednesday to respond to the action it has taken to recall him. Even though the ANC anticipates that Zuma will give them a response tomorrow, they have set no deadline as within this regard. Speaking on another hot topic, being whether Zuma will face criminal charges levelled against him once he steps down, Magashule simply said that is a bridge the party will cross when it gets to it. Until then, Zuma is still held in high regard as one of the party’s foremost leaders and all members of the NEC will resolve to ensure that talks with him remain cordial.

“In our January 8th statement, we committed to the renewal of the party and unity within the party… we will strive at all costs to make sure that this happens,” Magashule said.  On whether or not this decision by the NEC will divide the party, remains to be seen.  He further said that he does not believe that the party will push for a motion of no confidence in Zuma should he decide not to step down. According to Magashule there was still room for negotiations with Zuma on this matter as the party is committed to sorting the matter out as amicably as possible without humiliating Zuma in the process.

Magashule was speaking at a press briefing at Luthuli House where he announced the party’s decision to recall Zuma. With him at this event was his second in command, Jessie Duarte, and the party’s recently appointed spokesperson, Pule Mabe.